GenEp, Inc., a biotechnology company developing therapies that address unmet needs in patients with epilepsy, announced today the closing of a $1.45 million seed financing. The financing was co-led by the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group Seed Fund, Angelini Lumira Biosciences Fund and 3B Future Health Fund, with additional participation by the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, Kids Connect Charitable Fund, PDI Ventures and the company’s management team. GenEp is developing first-in-class, highly selective compounds that modulate sodium channels. Nav1.6 & Nav1.2 gain of function mutations drive uncontrolled seizures and result in treatment resistance in certain rare genetic epilepsies and other treatment resistant epilepsies.
“We are grateful to our investors for their confidence in our team and our science,” said Andrew J. Krouse, President and Chief Executive Officer of GenEp. “Their financial support and deep industry experience will enable our company to make a difference in the lives of children and families living with epilepsy.”
The company’s proprietary mouse audiogenic reflex seizure model (MARSTM) allows it to rapidly screen many compounds in vivo in a clinically relevant model of human SCN8A epileptic encephalopathy, a rare pediatric disease caused by gain of function mutation in the Nav1.6 channel. Based on the University of Virginia’s Dr. Manoj Patel’s therapeutic insight that targeting the CNS isoforms of the Nav channel (Nav1.6, Nav1.2, and Nav1.1) to control seizures would be superior to targeting only Nav1.6, GenEp is optimizing its patented first series of CNS- specific sodium channel inhibitors to decrease over-active neuronal signaling while limiting off-target safety effects common to other isoforms and ion channels.
“We are excited to join in accelerating GenEp’s important pediatric genetic epilepsy programs,” stated Gerry Brunk, Managing Director of Lumira Ventures, manager of the Angelini Lumira Biosciences Fund. “GenEp’s experienced management team (whose previous company Cavion was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in 2019), patented compounds, and innovative drug screening model offer a compelling opportunity to develop effective therapies for these patients’ unmet medical needs.”
In connection with the financing, Gerry Brunk and Marianne Bjordal of 3B Future Health Fund will join CEO Andrew Krouse on the GenEp Board of Directors.
About GenEp, Inc.
GenEp, Inc. is a privately held pre-clinical stage biotechnology company based on intellectual property assets licensed from the University of Virginia. GenEp aims to create therapies targeting mutations of sodium and other ion channels that cause rare genetic epilepsies and other treatment-resistant epilepsies.
About the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group
The Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) is the intellectual property management and innovation commercialization organization for the University of Virginia (UVA) research enterprise. Founded in 1977, its mission is to maximize the intellectual, societal, and economic impact of UVA discoveries via commercialization to enrich and improve lives for the University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the world. The LVG Seed Fund is a $10MM evergreen fund that is uniquely positioned to launch and support new ventures emerging from the UVA research portfolio. The Fund is governed by an oversight committee comprised of leaders in early-stage investing and startup development who are all UVA alumni. To learn more visit lvg.virginia.edu.
About Angelini Lumira Biosciences Fund
Angelini Lumira Biosciences Fund is a corporate venture capital fund established by Angelini Pharma, an international pharmaceutical company, part of the Italian privately-owned Angelini Group. Angelini Pharma is committed to helping patients in the therapeutics areas of central nervous system and mental health, rare diseases, and consumer healthcare. Angelini Pharma operates directly in 25 countries employing almost 3,000 people and commercializes its products in more than 70 countries through strategic alliances with leading international pharmaceutical groups. Lumira Ventures is a North American healthcare venture capital firm with a two-decades of experience of investing in and helping to build transformative biomedical companies. Lumira Ventures manages its activities from offices in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Boston. For more information, please visit www.lumiraventures.com
About 3B Future Health Fund S.A. SICAR, formerly known as Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR
3B Future Health Fund is focused on investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity, and respect, 3B Future Health Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients. Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions. For more information, please visit 3bfuturehealth.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties and includes statements that are not historical facts. Actual results could differ significantly from results discussed. GenEp, Inc. disclaims any intent or obligation to update forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
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