26.04.2013 - French vaccine specialist Genticel SA (Toulouse) has raised €18.2m in a financing round.
The round was led by Wellington Partners (Munich), which included all current institutional investors such as IDInvest Partners, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (Paris), InnoBio fund, IRDI and Amundi Private Equity Funds. The company said it will use the new funds to push its two therapeutic vaccine candidates against the cancer-causing human papilloma virus subtypes HPV16 and HPV18.
Its ProCervix vaccine, which is built on Genticel’s CyaA antigen delivery technology, has successfully finished phase I clinical study. The phase I trial (n=47) revealed no dose limiting toxicity and no patient drop-out. In addition, ProCervix induced a dose-dependent immune response as well as viral clearance in a substantially larger percentage of patients as compared to placebo. ProCervix will enter into phase II development in order to demonstrate proof of efficacy. Genticel’s other pipeline product is a CyaA-based multivalent HPV vaccine with additional virus subtype coverage. Currently, there is preventive HPV vaccination but still no effective treatment against established infection with high-risk HPV types albeit promising approaches.
Genticel’s vaccines are designed for the treatment of infected women who have not yet developed high-grade cervical lesions or cancer. Recent estimates by the World Health Organization suggest that world-wide approximately 300 million women are carriers of HPV infection at any given time and approximately 500,000 patients are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.