i&i Biotech Fund invests EUR 1 million in Celeris Therapeutics company using AI to develop drugs
24 February 2022
Prague, Czech Republic – 24 February 2022. i&i Biotech Fund (i&i Bio) has announced an investment of EUR 1 million in Celeris Therapeutics (CelerisTx), an early-stage drug discovery company using artificial intelligence to predict biomolecular interactions and generate new chemical entities. CelerisTx exploits its proprietary platform to develop new drugs in oncology and neurology. The funds will accelerate R&D activities.
“We are thrilled to accompany such a promising biotech startup with its R&D facility in central Europe on its way to becoming a world leader. It is exciting to be part of the development of cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to help treat the most serious diseases,” says Karel Kubias, Partner at i&i Biotech Fund and former CEO of the Czech subsidiary of Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany. Additionally, i&i Bio has secured a seat on the board of directors of CelerisTx, allowing the Fund to directly support the company’s development and extend its connections with pharmaceutical partners.
Thanks to this investment, i&i Bio has become a part of a breathtaking journey to develop cutting-edge technologies. In this case, we are talking about computerized methods of designing degrader drugs (proximity-inducing compounds, PICs™) for currently undruggable pathogenic proteins related to Parkinson’s, various types of cancers, and other diseases. PICs™ remove the pathogenic proteins by activating the cellular degradation mechanisms.
We are thrilled to accompany such a promising biotech startup with its R&D facility in central Europe on its way to becoming a world leader. It is exciting to be part of the development of cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to help treat the most serious diseases.
Partner at i&i Biotech Fund
The seed financing round was co-led by i&i Bio (Luxembourg), Pace Ventures Enigma (Germany), and Apex Ventures (Austria). The total amount invested reached $4.4 million. The financing follows on from the company’s pre-seed round from March 2021. The existing investors R42 Group from Silicon Valley and Longevitytech.fund a.s. accompanied the lead investors with follow-up investments.
Support of acceleration of R&D and business development
“The additional funding will be used to build our laboratory site in Graz, Austria, and further fuel our three in-house drug programs around neurology and oncology. This means a substantial acceleration on a global scale of our platform,” says Jakob Hohenberger, CFO/COO, and Co-Founder of CelerisTx. “The investment from institutional globally acting venture capital firms is a great acknowledgment and will support acceleration of both R&D as well as business development to collaborate with big pharma and big biotech on precious new medicines,” adds his colleague Christopher Trummer, the CEO and Co-Founder of CelerisTx.
CelerisTx is already collaborating with multiple well-recognized pharmaceutical companies. Just a few days ago, on 9 February 2022, the company announced another significant milestone – the beginning of a cooperation with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
Martin Kovalčík, firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 777 472 863
i&i Biotech Fund (i&i Bio)
i&i Bio is a Luxembourg-based venture capital firm that invests in innovative European Life Sciences companies focused on drug discoveries, medical devices, diagnostics and digital health. With over €45M under management, i&i Bio plans to invest in about 20 early-stage companies. i&i Bio is led by an experienced team of professionals with backgrounds in private equity, the healthcare industry and venture capital who support entrepreneurs on their journey to global success. Thanks to close cooperation with the fund’s main sponsor, the biotech academic incubator, i&i Prague, i&i Bio has a great opportunity to be at the inception of transformative Central European technologies.
About the European Investment Fund (EIF)
The Fund is supported by an investment from the EIF, with the support of:
lnnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing; and
the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF), implemented by the EIF with the financial support of the Participating Member States. The objective of EGF is to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that companies in the Participating Member States have sufficient short-term liquidity available to weather the crisis and are able to continue their growth and development in the medium to long-term.