Thursday, August 27, 2009

ProFibrix has raised $11 million

ProFibrix BV, a Dutch developer of products for hemostasis and regenerative medicine, has raised $11 million in Series B funding. Gilde Healthcare Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Index Ventures.

ProFibrix B.V., a leader in the development of innovative products for hemostasis and regenerative medicine, today announced the successful closing of a US $11 million series B investment. The financing round was led by new investor Gilde Healthcare Partners, a leading European life sciences investor, who joins existing investor Index Ventures. Dirk Kersten from Gilde will join the company’s Supervisory Board.

Jaap Koopman, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Gilde Healthcare to our investor base and we appreciate the ongoing support and expertise that our investors can offer to our experienced team as we continue the development of ProFibrix. The proceeds of the financing will be applied to the ongoing clinical development of our lead product Fibrocaps(TM), and to the preclinical development of our pipeline products.”

Fibrocaps is based on a mixture of two essential blood clotting proteins, fibrinogen and thrombin, and is a unique dry powder topical tissue sealant that rapidly stops bleeding after or during surgery. Fibrocaps has major advantages over existing liquid tissue sealants: it is ready for immediate use, is stable at room temperature, highly effective and fast acting. Fibrocaps is currently in a Phase II clinical trial in the Netherlands with results expected end of 2009.

Dirk Kersten, investment manager at Gilde Healthcare Partners, commented: “Gilde Healthcare Partners invests in biopharmaceutical companies with strong technology platforms and experienced management. We believe ProFibrix’ breakthrough fibrinogen technology is well-positioned to play an important role in the highly attractive hemostasis and regenerative medicine markets.”

ProFibrix expects to submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for Fibrocaps to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of 2010, and to conduct a combined phase II/III pivotal study in various surgical indications.

Sea Worm Provides Model for Surgical Adhesive

Scientists at the University of Utah have uncovered a way to produce a synthetic adhesive based on a natural glue created by the sandcastle worm. This ocean worm builds its home by sticking pieces of sand and shells together, and the result is strong enough to withstand ocean tides. Researchers think this glue could have applications for bone repair in trauma cases, where fast setting time, ease of use and low risk of infection can benefit both the patient and the surgeon.

Russell Stewart, Ph.D., who led the Utah team, said his goal was to develop a water-based adhesive that remained insoluble in wet environments and was able to bond to wet objects. Curing time was another key issue for Stewart. The the team learned that pH changes cause the glue to set, a response that was copied for the synthetic version. The final result is "at least as strong as Super Glue" and is twice as strong as the sandcastle adhesive. So far, it has passed toxicity studies in cell cultures. In addition to its adhesive applications, Stewart is exploring how the glue could also be used to deliver antibiotics or materials that could aid in healing, like BMPs or other small molecules.

Surgical adhesives offer a number of benefits over fixation devices, among them more effective wound closure, less risk of leakage and infection and ease of handling and application. Similar to the sandcastle glue, many adhesives are derived from natural sources. For example, fibrin sealants are blood-derived, CryoLife's BioGlue is bovine-derived and some hemostatic products come from snake venom.