Bayer invests USD 50 Million in eGenesis Series B financing round
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- Published on Thursday, 07 November 2019 12:10
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Investment to support development of human-compatible xeno organs to address the global organ shortage crisis
eGenesis with lead program in kidney transplantation
LEVERKUSEN, Germany and BOSTON, MA, USA I November 7, 2019 I eGenesis, a biotechnology company utilizing breakthrough gene editing technologies for the development of effective human-compatible organs to address the global organ shortage, successfully completed a USD 100 million Series B financing. The financing was led by Fresenius Medical Care Ventures (FMCV), with participation from new investors including Leaps by Bayer and Wellington Partners. Existing investors, including, but not limited to, ARCH Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital, Alta Partners, and Khosla Ventures, all participated.
eGenesis is committed to helping solve the global organ shortage by pioneering an alternative source of human-compatible organs. It is currently estimated that there are between 1.5 to 2 million people on the organ transplant waitlist globally. This financing will enable the acceleration of the eGenesis kidney xenotransplant program into the clinic, as well as support advancement of a range of other xenotransplant programs across islet cell, liver, heart, and lung. The focus of the company is to rapidly advance an entirely new set of options across the transplantation field.
“Leaps by Bayer” is built for the specific purpose of tackling fundamental breakthrough solutions in the fields of health and nutrition with the help of new technologies. Sustainable organ replacement is one of the ten areas of engagement and investment (called “leaps”) for Leaps by Bayer. “We believe eGenesis is poised to revolutionize the entire organ transplantation market. This could save lives in a way that was previously not thought possible just a few years ago,” noted Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer. Eckhardt and Dr. Lucio Iannone will represent Leaps by Bayer by actively participating on the eGenesis Board of Directors.
“eGenesis has a bold vision to solve the organ shortage crisis through xenotransplantation,” said Paul Sekhri, president and chief executive officer of eGenesis. “As we look ahead, we are proud to partner with Leaps by Bayer who has demonstrated a commitment for ushering in paradigm-shifting advances in the life sciences that will bring forward tomorrow’s medicines.”
Kemal Malik, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG, and responsible for Innovation, added, “Within Bayer’s innovation strategy, Leaps is driving breakthrough invention at Bayer and the eGenesis approach represents a truly transformational option, addressing the unmet medical need of patients suffering from a disease where organ transplantation could be a potentially lifesaving treatment.”
Leaps by Bayer, a unit of Bayer is investing into solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. Previous Leaps investments into potentially breakthrough technologies include Casebia Therapeutics (Cure genetic diseases), BlueRock Therapeutics (Regenerate lost tissue function), Joyn Bio (Reduce environmental impact of farming) as well as Khloris, Century Therapeutics and Pyxis Oncology (Prevent and cure cancer).
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
The demand for lifesaving organs far outnumbers available supply. In the U.S. today, 20 people die every day due to lack of available organs for transplant and every 10 minutes an additional name is added to the national transplant waitlist. There are more than 113,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. alone. Globally, there are an estimated 1.5 to 2 million people on an organ waitlist.
The concept of xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of organs, tissue and cells from one species into another, has been explored for several decades, with the pig considered the most suitable donor for humans. However, until the development of modern gene editing tools, incompatibilities related to virology and immunology have prevented porcine organ xenotransplantation from entering clinical development.
eGenesis’ goal is to make available safe and reliable xeno organs, tissues, and cells to patients in need and advance the field of transplantation. eGenesis uses gene editing tools, such as CRISPR, to directly address the key virology and immunology hurdles that have impeded xenotransplantation to date. eGenesis is advancing an initial product toward the clinic for kidney transplant, with the longer-term potential of addressing a broader organ recipient population and expanding the applicability of xenotransplantation into other areas such as cell therapy. Learn more at egenesisbio.com.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
Find more information at www.leaps.bayer.com