Funding of a New French Biotechnology Company Specialized in Cancer


The biotechnologies company GamaMabs Pharma was launched and financed
with LFB and BpiFrance‘s participation through Innobio fund next to
IRDINov and iXO Private Equity in order to develop new cancer therapies.
The company’s first product is a new monoclonal antibody targeting
gynecological cancers, including ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is responsible for over 50 000 deaths every year in
Europe and the United States. It has a poor prognosis as it is often
diagnosed at an advanced stage due to a lack of systematic screening.
Increasing resistance to traditional chemotherapy treatments justifies
research into targeted therapeutic solutions, such as monoclonal

In collaboration with public partners (Inserm, Université de
Montpellier; Institut du cancer de Montpellier), the LFB group has
chosen an original antibody with strong cytotoxic activity from its
propriety platform for the monoclonal antibody generations (EMABling®),
to provide a new therapeutic approach to this pathology. The antibody
3C23K, for which LFB has obtained an exclusive operating license, has
proven its effectiveness in experimental models of ovarian cancer.

Dr Jean-François Prost, former Scientific and medical director of the
LFB group, and Stéphane Degove have joined forces to create GamaMabs
Pharma and raise the necessary funds to develop this program.

GamaMabs Pharma benefits from an exclusive global sublicense from the
LFB group for the monoclonal antibody 3C23K and is supported by LFB
group’s EMABling® platform. In exchange for the agreed rights, LFB group
owns a minor participation in the capital of GamaMabs Pharma. Led by
BpiFrance through Innobio fund, the venture capital funds will
contribute up to 3.1 million euros to the deal.
This investment
will allow the validation of the therapeutic concept, in collaboration
with various regional centers specialized in the fight against cancer
and to prepare the first clinical trial.

Denis Soubeyran, Head of finance and strategy of LFB group has declared:
“This contract provides every opportunity for the success of this very
promising project, initiated by LFB group, for the treatment of ovarian
cancer. Our capital contribution in GamaMabs Pharma, our implication in
the project through our EmaBling® platform and the bioproduction
capacity of our subsidiary LFB Biomanufacturing all demonstrate our
interest and confidence in the future of this project”.

Philippe Boucheron, Deputy Director of Life Sciences at Bpifrance
Investissement has declared: “BpiFrance is delighted to work with
GamaMabs Pharma and to support a truly innovative therapeutic approach
for ovarian cancer, a cancer for which, sadly, few new solutions have
reached the market recently and for which medical attention is
important. Stéphane Degove and Jean-François Prost have the ideal
combined experience to give GamaMabs Pharma the best chance of success”.

“We are extremely motivated by the development of this first-in-class antibody
and our aim is to launch clinical trials in 2015”, added Stéphane Degove
and Jean-François Prost. “In addition to the financial support from key
investors in the Health sector, this programme benefits from the R&D
expertise of the LFB group”.

The management team at GamaMabs Pharma
Dr Jean-François
Prost, Vice President of R&D and Strategy at GamaMabs Pharma has 30
years of experience in the European pharmaceutical industry. Previously
he led the R&D Departments of Servier, Pierre Fabre and UCB Pharma. Over
the past ten years as Scientific and medical director at LFB, he has
determinedly contributed to the development of EMABling® technology and
to that of two antibodies currently in the clinical development.

Stéphane Degove, Chief Executive Officer of GamaMabs pharma, has 17
years of experience in Finance and Strategy in the pharmaceutical and
biotechnology industries. An ESCP Europe graduate, he has worked for
Sanofi and was a co-founder of Endotis Pharma specializing in thrombosis
and cancer.

About the LFB group
LFB is a
French biopharmaceutical group that develops, manufactures and
commercializes/ markets medication for serious and often rare
pathologies in the following major therapeutic fields: immunology,
intensive care and hemostasis.
The LFB group is number one in
France and number five in the world in plasma-derived medicinal
products. The group is also one of the top European companies in the
development and production of proteins and new generation treatments in
biotechnologies. In 2012, 76.7 million euros were put towards research
and development, for a turnover of 465.7 million euros.
Béchon is the President of the group, which has 1887 employees.

About Bpifrance and InnoBio
equity investments are operated by Bpifrance Investissement. Bpifrance
invests directly or indirectly has a minority party through partner’s
equity, in French companies, PME, ETI and larger companies.
is a 139 million euro FCPR managed by Bpifrance and subscribed by the
FSI (37%) and the key global pharmaceutical companies (Sanofi Aventis,
GSK, Roche, Novartis, Pfizer, Lilly, Ipsen, Takeda,
Boehringer-Ingelheim) operating in France.
The main objective of
the fund is to directly invest equity or partial equity in the capital
of firms who provide innovative and technological products and services
in the Health sector.
InnoBio, is made up of a team of investors
specialised in the industry and has to this day made 13 investments of a
total of 65 million euros.

About IRDInov
IRDInov is
an interregional seed fund, launched in late 2012 with the support of
the FNA (National Seed Fund) and managed by CDC Enterprises, IRDI, and
the Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine Regions alongside partnerships with
regional banks and industrials.

The investment strategy of the fund is centered on spin-off projects
from public or private research organisms in all innovative and
industrial sectors. IRDInov invests (through several fundraising
rounds), sums ranging from 500K euro to 3 million euros in innovative
companies in seed or start-up stages, located in Aquitaine,
Midi-Pyrénées and Limousin.
The fund, managed by the GIE IRDI, was
granted 25.2 million euros in its first round with an aim to raise an
additional 10 million euros.

About IXO PE
IXO private Equity
is an independent company 100 % held by its management team.
manages an asset portfolio in capital-investment of 323M€.
funds made out from type FIP/FCPI’s public offer represent 155M€. FCPR’s
funds signed mainly by institutional rise represent, as for them, 168M€.
in Toulouse, IXO Private Equity invests equity in PME located in the
South of France (south east – south-west)


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Funding of a New French Biotechnology Company Specialized in Cancer
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