Enthera Pharmaceuticals announced the completion of a €28 million Series A financing round co-led by seed investor Sofinnova Partners and incoming investor AbbVie. Additional contributors included the JDRF T1D Fund (the venture capital fund of JDRF) and several Italian investors including a group coordinated by Banor SIM, a group coordinated by Banca Profilo through Arepo Fiduciaria and Indaco Venture Partners SGR. The €28 million raised is the largest VC-backed Series A funding round for an Italian biotechnology company to date.
Enthera is focused on developing first-in-class biologics to transform the treatment paradigm of specific autoimmune conditions by re-establishing stem cell capabilities in a non-traditional way. Enthera’s pioneering approach capitalizes on the key discovery of the IGFBP3/TMEM219 pathway, which is involved in beta cell and stem cell apoptosis in pancreas and gut, respectively. The Company is building a pipeline of inhibitory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and fusion proteins targeting the pathway via multiple angles.
The proceeds from the Series A financing will be used to obtain clinical proof-of-concept through a first-in-human study of Ent001, Enthera’s lead candidate. Ent001 is the only drug in development with the potential to restore the pancreatic beta cell compartment in type 1 diabetes as well as the original intestine structure in inflammatory bowel disease, in order to re-establish organ function. The funds will also be used to further develop Enthera’s pipeline.
Commenting on the successful Series A financing, Giovanni Amabile, CEO of Enthera, said: “Having renowned investors Sofinnova Partners, AbbVie and JDRF T1D Fund choosing to support us on our journey is great validation of our company strategy and scientific method, and gives credit to the innovative science that is currently underway in Italy. We have a revolutionary approach that offers a new perspective for intractable diseases such as type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease, and the funds raised will enable us to accelerate our lead program Ent001 to clinical proof-of-concept. Through this and the development of our wider pipeline, we have the opportunity to bring real hope to patients in need and to provide effective and safe treatments.”
Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners, who co-seeded the company, stated: “Enthera’s Series A financing is a fantastic milestone enabled by the leadership of Giovanni who, since his arrival in the company, has expanded its activities into novel therapeutic areas. This is also an opportunity for us to applaud BiovelocITA’s role in transforming the breakthrough science originating from Paolo Fiorina and his team into a full-fledged enterprise. Enthera is a salient example of what can be achieved when the critical components of a biotech ecosystem are brought together to accelerate innovation in Italy: World-class science, experienced management, and dedicated financial capital.”
Margarita Chavez, Managing Director of AbbVie Ventures and new addition to the Enthera Board of Directors, added: “AbbVie Ventures’ investment in Enthera’s Series A demonstrates our confidence in the team and their unique approach to treating underserved autoimmune disorders. I look forward to working with Giovanni and rest of the team as we drive the Company and its innovation forward.”
Enthera was formed in 2016 based on research by scientific founders Prof. Paolo Fiorina and Dr. Francesca D’Addio. The Company is the first spin-off of the Italian biotech accelerator BiovelocITA, founded by Sofinnova Partners, Silvano Spinelli and Gabriella Camboni, which provided the initial seed fund. A seed extension was financed in 2018 by Sofinnova Partners, JDRF T1D fund and the other existing investors.