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VarmX, a privately owned spin-out company of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands received €12.5 million the development of a snake-venom-based medication. This new therapeutic factor X was inspired by a snake venom protein to instantaneously restore blood clotting for patients taking anticoagulants.
Leiden-based VarmX plans to use the funding proceeds to speed up development of its lead compound PseudoXa, a modified recombinant human coagulation factor X which is capable of immediately restoring blood clotting in the presence of direct factor Xa anticoagulants (DOACS).
The latest financing round
The funding includes a €7.5m Series A financing co-led by BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and Dutch regional development company InnovationQuarter, plus a €5m innovation credit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl).
InnovationQuarter aims to play a vital role in VarmX’s market success as the former can help the startup connect with business developers and investors.
“We were advised to hold our story against InnovationQuarter because all the expertise to get your company up-scaled is in one organization. Business developers and investors from different funds constantly talk to each other. And the business network reaches deep into the province, both in government and business. In addition, InnovationQuarter has a profile as a lifecycle financier,” said Paul Bilars.
The duo Pieter Reitsma and Paul Bilars are the driving force behind this new medical invention. Pieter is a world-renowned scientist in the field of blood clotting whereas Paul Bilars was the manager of operations at the LUMC. This provides VarmX a powerful founding that combines the scientific expertise and managerial experience to bring a leading medicine to market.
The much-needed remedy for anticoagulants
Anticoagulants, commonly referred to as blood thinners, are chemical substances that prevent or reduce coagulation of blood, prolonging the clotting time. There are 3 million patients in the USA alone that take anticoagulants.
Pieter Reitsma took a piece of DNA from snake venom and made a medicine that counteracts the effect of the new generation of anticoagulants. This is how he was able to invent a breakthrough medicine for patients taking anticoagulants.
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