4BIO Capital jointly leads $25 million Series A financing of ViaNautis Bio
- ViaNautis’s proprietary drug delivery platform polyNaut® is designed to deliver genetic therapeutic payloads across difficult-to-penetrate biological barriers, developing new medicines for diseases with unmet clinical need
- Series A led by 4BIO Capital, BGF, and UCB Ventures with participation from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company and existing investors including Origin Capital, Meltwind and O2H
London & Cambridge, UK, 13 November 2023 – 4BIO Capital (“4BIO” or “the Group”), an international venture capital firm unlocking the treatments of the future by investing in advanced therapies and other emerging technologies, announced today that it has jointly led a $25 million (£20 million) Series A financing round of ViaNautis Bio (“ViaNautis” or the “Company”). Formerly known as SomaServe, ViaNautis’s Series A financing will enable the advancement of its proprietary drug delivery platform – polyNaut®.
4BIO led the round alongside BGF and UCB Ventures S.A with the additional participation of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company and existing investors including Origin Capital, Meltwind and O2H. The proceeds from the round will fuel the rapid development of products using the polyNaut® platform, expand the scientific and management teams and establish industry-leading laboratory facilities. Owen Smith, Partner at 4BIO Capital, will also join the ViaNautis board of directors.
ViaNautis’s polyNaut® platform applies advanced polymer materials and in silico screening to precisely guide genetic molecules such as pDNA, mRNA, siRNA and ASOs to their intended targets. Unlike conventional drug delivery methods, polyNaut® tackles the challenge of transporting genetic materials across biological barriers, advancing medicines for conditions with pressing unmet clinical needs, such as Cystic Fibrosis - a multisystemic disease affecting the lungs, pancreas, and other organs - and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The company’s pipeline includes VNS002, supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, focusing on identifying optimal formulation candidates for targeted delivery to the conducting airways in the lungs.
ViaNautis was spun out of UCL in 2018 by co-founders Dr Francesca Crawford, Dr Denis Cecchin, and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia, inventor of polyNaut® and honorary professor at UCL. Professor Battaglia is also an ICREA professor and head of the Molecular Bionics Group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, part of the Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology (IBEC).
Owen Smith, Partner at 4BIO Capital and Board Member at ViaNautis, commented: “As the cell and gene therapy field gains momentum, it is evident that safe and precise delivery remains a key bottleneck in developing new therapeutics. ViaNautis presents an excellent opportunity in the world of genetic therapies by enabling the delivery of cargoes to otherwise inaccessible sites of action in the body. The polyNaut® technology overcomes the limitations of other drug delivery methods and presents a unique pathway to developing a new generation of genetic medicines for patients with few or no other treatment options. 4BIO Capital is proud to invest in the future of advanced therapies and emerging technologies such as polyNaut® and we look forward to seeing ViaNautis grow and succeed.”
Francesca Crawford, CEO of ViaNautis, commented: "This successful fundraise empowers us to expedite the deployment of our proprietary polyNaut® technology, which offers unparalleled access to the brain and other tissues, presenting significant opportunities to address both CNS and lung diseases. We are grateful for 4BIO Capital’s support and appreciate the backing of all of our new and existing shareholders. We are also proud to be working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on one of our key pipeline programmes, underscoring our commitment to advancing treatments for people with cystic fibrosis and other unmet clinical needs. This fundraise marks a pivotal moment in ViaNautis’s journey and we look forward to advancing the field of gene therapy, while creating substantial value for our shareholders.”