Business Europe Health

• Financing round led by Caixa Capital Risc and co-led by Sound Bioventures and existing investor Newton Biocapital.
• AbolerIS is developing a first-in-class drug inducing an immune tolerance-based mechanism that acts upstream of current anti-inflammatory standard of care drugs in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Proceeds will be used to advance lead monoclonal antibody into clinical trials.

Gosselies, Belgium, September 18, 2023: AbolerIS Pharma (“AbolerIS”), a biopharmaceutical company developing an entirely novel approach to the treatment of chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, today announced a €27.3 million Series A financing led by Caixa Capital Risc and co-led by Sound Bioventures and existing investor Newton Biocapital with participation from SFPI-FPIM, WE, Sambrinvest, Investsud Tech, and Relyens Innovation Santé/Turenne Capital. Proceeds from the financing will enable AbolerIS to accelerate the development of its lead program in clinical trials and explore its effectiveness in additional autoimmune diseases.

AbolerIS’ lead program is a monoclonal antibody against CD45RC, a novel molecular target expressed on a subset of T cells that acts upstream of anti-inflammatory cytokine effectors by eliminating autoreactive effector T cells, increasing the relative ratio of regulatory T cells (Tregs), sparing memory T cells, and inducing immune tolerance. It has the potential for being a first-in-class molecule addressing the needs of a significant number of rheumatoid arthritis patients, refractory to the current standard of care treatment (anti-TNFs), which is a multi-billion dollar franchise. AbolerIS’ therapeutic strategy is to rebalance the immune system and prevent it from attacking the body’s own cells, which are at the root of multiple chronic autoimmune diseases.

Central to AbolerIS’ innovation lies the pioneering work of co-founders, Dr. Ignacio Anegon, M.D. (Director of Research INSERM), and Dr. Carole Guillonneau, Ph.D. (Director of Research CNRS), both researchers in the Center of Research in Transplantation and Translational Immunology (CR2TI) UMR1064 INSERM/University of Nantes located at the Nantes University Hospital. Their collaborative efforts uncovered CD45RC as a novel target for immune modulation.

Dr. Ignacio Anegon, M.D., and Dr. Carole Guillonneau, Ph.D, Co-Founders of AbolerIS Pharma said: “By targeting pathogenic CD45RC-expressing cells and harnessing the power of regulatory T cells, this therapy aims to restore immune balance and target the underlying causes of these diseases, offering the hope of long-lasting remission and a reduced reliance on immune-suppressing medications.”

Pablo Cironi, Ph.D., Director of Caixa Capital Risc said: “AbolerIS’ promise lies in the novelty of its scientific approach targeting the holy grail of “immune tolerance” in rebalancing the immune system, and its potential to establish a new standard of care in the underserved patient population in rheumatoid arthritis and a broader set of chronic autoimmune diseases. With an exceptional team of reputable scientific founders with decades of experience in basic and translational immunology, and a strong leadership team of experienced biotech leaders and clinical experts, we believe there is a clear path for AbolerIS Pharma to have a transformational impact in the field.”

Caroline Thielen, Ph.D., Investment Manager at WE Life Sciences said: “We are thrilled to support AbolerIS in its mission to bring new and improved treatments to patients suffering from severe autoimmune disorders. At WE Life Sciences, in collaboration with SFPIM-FPIM, Sambrinvest and Investsud Tech, our mission is to accompany local heroes on their entrepreneurial journey of innovation. Together, we drive advancements in healthcare, making positive impact on patient’s lives.”

Ann Meulemans, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of AbolerIS Pharma said: “Together with 2Bridge, we recognized early on the game changing potential of Regulatory T cell therapy and CD45RC as a novel target. We deeply appreciate the trust placed in us by investors, healthcare providers and the broader community. Guided by the visionary ‘Patients are waiting’ words of Dr. Paul Janssen, we are committed to advancing the groundbreaking scientific discoveries to the clinical stage as soon as possible.”

AbolerIS Pharma is a pioneering biopharmaceutical company focused on revolutionizing immunotherapy for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Through innovative antibody therapy targeting CD45RC, AbolerIS Pharma aims to restore immune balance and achieve long-lasting remission for patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Led by a team of reputable scientists, AbolerIS Pharma translates groundbreaking discoveries into tangible therapies, with an unwavering dedication to addressing patients’ needs. Visit www.aboleris-pharma.com to learn more about our transformative approach to immunotherapies.

Caixa Capital Risc is a venture capital firm that invests in life sciences through its specialized fund Criteria Bio Ventures. Criteria Bio Ventures teams up with driven entrepreneurs to build innovative biotech companies that transform patients’ lives. Criteria Bio Ventures invests in international companies that provide disruptive therapeutic approaches centered on addressing unmet medical needs, with a primary focus on Europe. Caixa Capital Risc is part of the CriteriaCaixa group. For more information, please visit: https://www.caixacapitalrisc.es/en

Sound Bioventures is a therapeutics focused venture fund, that invests in about-to-be clinical or clinical stage biotech companies in Europe and the US. Founded by a team of experienced life science investors and operators, the fund invests in companies addressing significant unmet medical need with potential for a profound impact on human health. For more information, please visit: www.soundbioventures.com

Newton Biocapital (NBC) is a hands-on investor focusing on early-stage life sciences companies targeting chronic health conditions. NBC has a presence in Europe/Japan and leverages its expertise to help its portfolio companies focus on the right indication and clinical trial design, thereby helping them to progress successfully through challenging early drug development phases.
For more information please visit: www.newtonbiocapital.com

The Federal Holding and Investment Company is Belgium’s Sovereign Wealth Fund with about €8.6 billion in assets under management for the Federal State. It supports Belgian companies, including SMEs and scale-ups, by providing smart capital solutions to help them become industry leaders. Additionally, the SFPI-FPIM plays a crucial role in ensuring the long-term stability of the Belgian economy by strategically investing in promising and established companies across various sectors. For more information, please visit: https://sfpim.be/en

WE Life Sciences invests in Wallonia’s “Local Heroes” – researchers and entrepreneurs leveraging innovation to foster a sustainable and equitable global economy. Emphasizing diversity and cross-fertilization, they support a wide range of health sector companies at various developmental stages and driven by a long-term vision. As a pioneer, premature, and patient investor, WE Life Sciences encourages entrepreneurs to explore new areas, strengthening Wallonia’s economic health. Learn more at www.wallonie-entreprendre.be

With 35 years of experience alongside entrepreneurs, more than 270 companies in portfolio and €160M under management, Sambrinvest is a major player in venture capital in the region of Charleroi Métropole, Wallonia, Belgium. More than an investor, Sambrinvest is the catalyst for local ecosystems development, such as Biotech, Digital and Engineering. Thanks to its expertise, it advises entrepreneurs at every development stage of their projects whilst respecting their management autonomy. For more information, please visit: www.sambrinvest.be

Investsud Tech is a specialized VC fund investing in seed and early-stage startups. Its portfolio of companies features some of the leading young technological companies in Wallonia. The fund belongs to the INVESTSUD Group, which is a private equity firm located in Wallonia, Belgium, and dedicated to accompanying small and medium-sized family companies, with equity or quasi-equity funds. For more information, please visit: www.investsud.be

Relyens Innovation Santé, launched in 2014, is a health-focused venture capital vehicle owned by Relyens, a mutual insurance company. Supported by Turenne Santé, the Health Division of Turenne Group, its mission is to aid the growth of innovative health sector companies. Turenne Group, a prominent private equity company in France, manages €1.6 billion in assets and supports 290 business leaders across various sectors, including healthcare. For more information, please visit: www.relyens.eu/fr and www.turennecapital.com