Breath Therapeutics has raised €43.5M that will be used to finalize development and launch a therapy to improve survival in lung transplant patients.
Sofinnova Partners, one of the top biotech VCs in Europe, and the Belgian Gimv have co-led the Series A round of Breath Therapeutics, a German company focusing on treating pulmonary orphan indications. Gilde Healthcare also joined the round, which is the biggest European Series A financing of 2017. The proceeds, the company plans to conduct Phase III trials, submit for marketing approval and prepare for commercialization.
The work of Breath Therapeutics, in Munich, is based on technology and research by the German PARI Pharma. Its lead program is a drug-device combination to treat bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), a lethal orphan respiratory disease with no treatment and the main cause of the short 5-year survival rates after lung transplantation.
The disease is also sometimes nicknamed popcorn lung since in the year 2000 a doctor diagnosed BOS to eight patients that had worked at a microwave popcorn factory. The cause was traced back to diacetyl, a compound that is stirring debate on the vaping market after a Harvard study detected its presence in over 76% of e-cigarettes tested.
Breath Therapeutics’ therapy for BOS consists in the inhalation of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine A. It is delivered using nebulizer equipment that can remotely monitor if the patient is adhering to the prescribed medication.
The investors seem confident in the potential of this system. “The BOS market will allow for a focused and highly profitable commercialisation strategy,” says Karl Nägler, partner at Gimv. “At Sofinnova Partners we have a strong expertise in turning corporate spin-offs into successful companies,” adds partner Graziano Seghezzi.
Sofinnova is certainly an experienced and successful VC in the biomedical space, with over €2Bn under management. On top of that, it just launched a €106M Industrial Biotech Fund that will invest in startups within the emerging market of renewable chemistry.
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