TCD Campus Company, Opsona Therapeutics Secures €18m Funding

Posted on: 19 February 2009

Opsona Therapeutics, a Trinity College campus biotechnology company focused on novel therapeutic and preventative approaches to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases  this week announced the completion of an €18m financing round which will enable it to expand both at an operational and clinical level.  Opsona Therapeutics was founded in 2004 by three of Trinity College Dublin’s immunologists: Professor of Medicine, Dermot Kelleher at the School of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, Luke O’Neill and Professor of Experimental  Immunology,  Kingston Mills – both at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology.

Novartis Venture Fund, Fountain Healthcare Partners, Inventages Venture Capital and Seroba Kernel Life Sciences all participated in the funding.  Proceeds will support the advancement of Opsona’s clinical trials targeting inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and transplantation.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Mark Heffernan, Chief Executive Officer of Opsona Therapeutics, said: “Completion of this financing represents a significant milestone in the transition of Opsona into a product-focused company delivering key clinical development milestones. With the endorsement of our existing and new investors, including the Novartis Venture Fund, Fountain Healthcare Partners and Seroba Kernel Life Sciences. Opsona is positioned to deliver on proof of concept studies in patients by targeting inflammatory diseases through the innate immune system, with our ultimate aim being to uncover innovative therapies that combat diseases with significant unmet medical need.”

Opsona is developing biopharmaceutical and small molecule products which modulate the innate immune system, which is the key trigger in the inflammation cascade in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Opsona’s lead product, a fully humanised monoclonal antibody (OPN-305) to a key toll-like receptor (TLR) target, has demonstrated efficacy in a number of animal models and will start pivotal clinical trials in 2010.

Opsona has also announced the opening of a new facility in Switzerland. The Swiss laboratory will carry out pivotal assay development and biochemical work for new projects and therapeutics recently acquired by Opsona to expand its pipeline of immunomodulators. The expertise that it intends to grow in Switzerland will complement the existing team and activity in Dublin.