Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium – September 10, 2015 – Novadip Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical spin-off company of Université catholique de Louvain announces the successful closing of a €28M Series A financing led by New Science Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm, and including Belgian investors VIVES Louvain Technology Fund, NivelInvest (Start-Up), Fund+, Integrale, SRIW, SFPI-FPIM, Epimède and several individual investors.
The proceeds of the capital round (€28M) and repayable advance from Belgium’s Walloon Region (€2M) will be primarily used for clinical development and process industrialization of Novadip Biosciences’ lead compound Creost®.
Novadip Biosciences pioneers the growth of 3-dimensional tissues derived from adipose stem cells to regenerate bone and soft tissues. With Creost, Novadip Biosciences introduces the revolutionary, ready-to-use and natural 3‑dimensional tissue that can be modelled to fill large and small bone defects. Creost will initially be investigated for complex lumbar spine fusion, an unmet medical need affecting more than 100,000 patients per year worldwide.
The technology originates from research lead by Prof Denis Dufrane and colleagues at the Cell and Tissue Therapy Centre of St Luc University Hospital and Université catholique de Louvain. Over the last 5 years, fifteen patients with various but severe conditions were allowed for treatment with Creost by Profs. Pierre-Louis Docquier and Christian Raftopoulos (St Luc University Hospital) under the European hospital exemption rule and showed promising clinical outcomes.
“We are honoured to attract such high quality investors who share our vision” says Jean-François Pollet, CEO and co-founder of Novadip Biosciences. “The proceeds will be used to advance clinical development of Creost and realize its full potential as a first-in-class medicinal product with broad applicability in bone reconstruction. We also have the capacity to work collaboratively with partners on other targets and indications in hard and soft-tissue reconstruction where the potential of our technology has strong clinical, economic and societal value.”
Denis Dufrane, CSO and co-founder, adds “There is a tremendous unmet need for disruptive approaches to treat bone tissue defects. With Creost, once the product is confirmed in the clinic, patients will, for the first time, have a therapy available to them that will not suffer from the shortcomings of existing treatments.”
“The successful financing of Novadip Biosciences illustrates the high quality of the academic and clinical research conducted by UCL and St Luc University Hospital, and our ability to spin-off a technology that will have significant impact on patients who experience prolonged disability and significant pain. This Round A funding event is among the biggest in Europe for an early stage biopharmaceutical company. The participation of a high calibre US venture capital fund demonstrates trust in a disruptive spin-off company, initially financed by VIVES Louvain Technology Fund” adds Philippe Durieux, CEO of VIVES and SOPARTEC.
Somu Subramaniam, Managing Partner, New Science Ventures, said: “We are delighted to lead such a significant Series A financing. Thanks to compelling and novel science, and a strong leadership team, Novadip Biosciences offers the opportunity to address a large unmet medical need.”
About Novadip Biosciences: Founded by Pr. Denis Dufrane and Jean-François Pollet, Novadip Biosciences, a spin-off company from University of Louvain (UCL) and St Luc University Hospital (CUSL), is active in regenerative medicine. Novadip’s first mission is to treat patients with bone defects and severe bone diseases. More information: www.novadip.com
About Creost®: Novadip’s proprietary product, Creost, is a natural scaffold-free and 3-dimensional mouldable putty, to reconstruct large and small bone defects without the need of any biomaterial. It is a fully osteogenic, osteoinductive and osteoconductive living implant made from autologous Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (AMSCs) which promotes a perfect engraftment and in vivo tissue regeneration with all native bone properties. Creost is a medical solution for a long-term improvement of the quality of life of patients following orthopaedic, neuro- and maxillo-facial surgeries. Creost is obtained from stem cells isolated from a minute quantity of the patient’s own fatty tissue. The product has already shown signals of safety and substantial enhancement of clinical outcomes in several indications including congenital and acquired pseudo-arthrosis, and spine fusion.
About New Science Ventures: New Science Ventures (NSV) is a New York-based venture capital firm, which invests in companies using novel scientific approaches to address significant unmet needs and create order of magnitude improvements in performance. NSV manages over USD 350 million and has invested in more than 30 companies located in the US, Europe, and Asia in the life sciences and information technology sectors. More information: www.newscienceventures.com
About VIVES: The Louvain Technology Fund is a multi-sector technology fund which invests in the spin-offs of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and start-ups in Belgium and neighbouring countries. VIVES II is funded by a dozen leading Belgian and European investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), SFPI-FPIM, Fortis Private Equity Belgium, BPI France (France), ING Belgium, Sofina, AXA Belgium, Belfius, IRD (France), NivelInvest and by Sopartec. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of start-ups, from validation of the technology to commercial maturity. The funds (VIVES I – €15 million and VIVES II – €43 million) are managed by Sopartec, UCL’s technology transfer company. More information: www.vivesfund.com
About the Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO) composed of SOPARTEC and UCL’s Administration of Research (ADRE): The LTTO covers the entire technology transfer process: funding of the research contracts, identification of the inventions in the laboratories, protection and management of the intellectual property and the technological maturation and commercialization (via licenses and/or spin-off). More in particular, Sopartec coordinates the management of licensing and the evolution towards maturity of UCL’s spin-off projects. Over 70 spin-offs, generating today more than 2.000 jobs, have been created partly or completely based on the result of research, conducted at UCL. These include more in particular names like Ion Beam Application (IBA), IRIS Group, IBT, Telemis, Viridaxis, Promethera Biosciences, Xylowatt, Keemotion, Iteos Therapeutics, e-Xstream, NeuroTech, DelfMEMS, Domobios, Novadip Biosciences, SmartNodes, GetSmily, Tessares, 3D-Side, Axinesis etc. More information: www.ltto.com
About Université catholique De Louvain (UCL) and Cliniques Universitaires St Luc: Founded in 1425, the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) is one of Europe´s oldest universities. It offers hundreds of educational programmes to more than 29,000 students from some 120 countries. UCL is ranked 154th in the QS World University rankings (2014-2015), 151-200th in the Shanghai rankings 2015 and 171st in the Times Higher Education rankings (2014-2015), making it the number one university in the French Community of Belgium. Education, research and service to society are the three fundamental missions of UCL. Anchored in a tradition of excellence, they have always opened up UCL to its region, Europe and the world. Research is closely linked to learning and teaching and is the raison d´être and one major strength of the UCL. Fundamental and applied research at UCL is the day-to-day activity of more than 2800 responsible and passionate academics and scientists. UCL is convinced that short and long term research constitutes one of the best investments for economic, social and cultural growth. More information: www.uclouvain.be
About Nivelinvest (start-up): NivelInvest is a private company with mixed capital whose shareholders, beyond the Walloon Region (Sowalfin 49%), are Ackermans & van Haaren, IBA, Equilis and FIB (51%). Start‑Up SA is part of the NivelInvest group, which offers a wide range of financing solutions, mainly through venture capital, in order to support SME’s in the various stages of their development. NinvelInvest Group has €48 million of assets under management. Its participation to Novadip’s capital is part of a co-investment with VIVES II which he is one of the investors. More information: www.nivelinvest.be
About Fund+: Fund+ is committed to become a long term investor in innovative companies in Life Sciences in order to create sustainable shareholders value and contribute to the development and anchorage of these companies in Belgium. The fund incorporated for an unlimited duration with a targeted €100 million assets has the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social impact alongside a financial return. More information: www.fundplus.be
About Integrale: Established in 1925, Integrale proposes supplementary pension solutions in Belgium and abroad for companies, industry-wide, pension funds, self-employed workers, individuals and expatriates. Working like a multi-employer pension fund, Integrale has no shareholders. All profits are exclusively distributed in the interests of affiliates after legal requirements. With €3 billion assets under management, the company serves over 140,000 affiliates and 5,000 companies through its offices in Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Luxembourg. More information: www.integrale.be
About SRIW: The SRIW Group is a key player at the heart of the economy of Wallonia. SRIW (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie) provides finance within and outside Belgium for businesses undertaking industrial projects or providing services that generate added value. For the last 30 years, the company has in this way been facilitating the region’s economic development, contributing effectively and in real terms to the modernization, growth and restructuring of the businesses that make up our industrial fabric. More information: www.sriw.be
About SFPI-FPIM: The Federal Holding and Investment Company (Federale Participatie- en Investeringsmaatschappij / Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissement) was created on 1 November 2006 as a result of the merger between the Federal Participation Company and the Federal Investment Company, two public holding companies that each have their own history. The federal government is the sole shareholder in the Federal Holding and Investment Company. SFPI‑FPIM centrally manages the federal government’s shareholdings, cooperates with the government on specific projects and pursues its own investment policy in the interests of the Belgian economy. SFPI‑FPIM has three core businesses: acquiring shareholdings in public and private companies that are of strategic importance in terms of federal policy; investing in companies with an attractive social value in one of SFPI‑FPIM’s priority sectors; cooperating on policy matters with the federal government and working on behalf of the government to implement specific projects. More information: www.sfpi-fpim.be
About Epimède: Epimède sprl is a technology venture capital firm specialized in supporting the growth phase of spin-off and start-up companies mainly in the Walloon and Brussels’ region of Belgium in the field of engineering and life sciences. Epimède manages a €24.16 million Belgian private equity Sicaf (pricaf) with a 12-years lifespan seeking a dozen investments up over the next three to four years.