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Date: 2010-08-25
Biotech partner: TiGenix (Belgium) Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) Ghent University (Belgium) Therosteon (The Netherlands) consortium of investors
Type of agreement: * other
Compound: disease modifying drugs
Disease area: bone and joint diseases
Development phase: preclinical
Nature of the agreement: The Belgian cell therapy company TiGenix has entered into an agreement with its academic partners, the Catholic University Leuven and Ghent University, the Dutch company Therosteon and a consortium of investors for the creation of a new small molecule drug development company, Arcarios. The setting up of this new company will allow Tigenix to leverage its small molecule drug discovery assets without deviating from its core cell therapy focus.
Arcarios will focus on the discovery and development of innovative, disease modifying drugs that target bone and joint diseases. The new company will develop validated a set of potential osteoarthritis targets and drug development candidates that have been identified and validated by Tigenix and its academic partners, the Catholic University Leuven and Ghent University. The targets and drugs have been identified with the high-content screening platform, ChondroBOOST® based on human joint chondrocytes and stem cells to assess the effect of small molecules and biologicals on the different aspects of cartilage biology. These assets will be merged with the Dutch drug discovery company Therosteon that has developed a similar high-content screening platform, OsteoBLAST® for the identification of compounds that have an effect on bone metabolism. Its lead compound, follistatin is in advanced preclinical development.
Based in Rotterdam and Diepenbeek, Arcarios will set-up R&D facilities in Diepenbeek, Belgium.
Financial terms of the agreement: The seed financing round is led by BioGeneration Ventures. Other investors include Erasmus Biomedical Fund, Gemma Frisius Fund, CD3, Baekeland Fund II, Credit Agricole and VINNOF.
The final closing is expected before the end of the year and total cash amount expected to be committed in this round will be in the single digit millions.
TiGenix will be the largest shareholder of Arcarios and has a significant equity stake varying between 15% and 20%. The Belgian biotech also retains the rights to drug candidates developed by Arcarios for local treatment of arthritic diseases.

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