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ViroVet NV, a leading Belgian biopharmaceutical company active in the development of innovative vaccines and antiviral drugs for livestock, is proud to announce that it has successfully concluded the first closing of its series A financing round, raising 5 million euro. The financing will be used to further develop and launch its veterinary product portfolio. The investment round was led by PMV (through Biotech Fund Flanders) and Agri Investment Fund, with participations from Gemma Frisius Fund KU Leuven, Vives II and Aratana Therapeutics NV.
ViroVet pioneers in developing novel and innovative vaccines based on a unique proprietary technology platform originating from the Rega Institute for Medical Research of the University of Leuven. This technology platform has the potential to produce vaccines faster and more cost-effectively. These vaccines are tailor-made to maximize efficacy and minimize safety concerns. In addition, the vaccines are thermostable thereby removing any cold-chain requirement. ViroVet will pursue applications of this technology platform for both endemic and epizootic viral livestock diseases.
The company also develops fast-acting antiviral drugs that are critical to the effective control and treatment of respiratory diseases of cattle and swine, thereby reducing secondary bacterial infections and the associated use of antibiotics.
In light of the growing world population that drives the demand for animal protein-rich diets, it is important to improve the health and safety of livestock. However, the growth and increasing concentration of the production animal industry, intensifying global trade and the challenges posed by climate change lead to an ever-increasing risk of viral diseases spreading worldwide. Such diseases not only severely impact animal welfare and the economics of the livestock industry, but also constitute a risk to food safety/security, and threaten human health as many livestock diseases - for instance avian influenza - have zoonotic potential.
Erwin Blomsma, PhD, co-founder and CEO of ViroVet states that “with the first closing of our series A investment round, we can accelerate our research and development efforts and bring innovation to a sector that really needs it. Together with our research partners at the universities of Leuven and Louvain-La-Neuve and the seasoned team at ViroVet, we have all the ingredients to make a flying start.”
Luc Basstanie, senior investment manager at AIF (Agri Investment Fund): “Viral infections in livestock constitute a major source of production loss and affect farmers bottom lines. ViroVet’s approach represents a leap forward in the control of viral diseases, which will contribute significantly to the sustainability of the livestock production sector and to animal welfare.”
David Devigne, PhD, investment manager at PMV (Biotech Fund Flanders): “We are pleased to be part of this innovative start-up in Flanders; active as a front-runner in improving the health and value of the livestock industry, a sector that is facing the ever-increasing challenge of securing the world supply of animal protein. Additionally, ViroVet is led by a seasoned management team with whom we have collaborated successfully in the past when operating under the umbrella of Okapi Sciences.”
Paul Van Dun, General Manager of Leuven Research & Development (KU Leuven): “KU Leuven has a long and strong tradition in antiviral research and in successfully bringing its research results to the market. We are pleased that, with ViroVet, its investors and its management have again put a significant step forward to translate promising research into products with a real societal impact.”
ViroVet is a biopharmaceutical company with a clear objective to develop innovative technologies to improve the health and value of livestock. The company is headquartered in Heverlee near Leuven, Belgium and continues to build on the livestock assets and know-how that it has accumulated since 2008 while adding new products, including vaccines, to the pipeline.
PMV is a do and dare company that shapes the economic future of Flanders. PMV finances promising companies from the very start to growth and internationalization. PMV offers tailor-made financial solutions for every entrepreneur with a solid business plan and a strong management team, by providing venture capital, loans and guarantees. An experienced and highly motivated team of 120 professionals endeavors every day to achieve the goal of creating prosperity and well-being in Flanders. By the end of 2016, PMV had a portfolio of about 1 billion in assets under management. More info about PMV can be found on www.pmv.eu.
Biotech Fund Flanders is a PMV managed venture fund focused on investments in life science projects.
Agri Investment Fund CVBA (AIF) is an investment company, which is part of M.R.B.B. (the financial holding of the farmers’ union), that invests in companies that contribute to the reinforcement of the competitiveness of agriculture and horticulture in Flanders.
Gemma Frisius Fund is a seed capital fund, which was established in 1997 as a joint venture between KU Leuven, KBC Bank and BNP Paribas Group. The objective of the fund is to stimulate the creation and growth of KU Leuven spin-off companies by providing them with seed capital in the very early phases of their development. The Gemma Frisius Fund combines the research and technology transfer expertise of the university with the financial and investment expertise of the two banks. Since its establishment in 1997, the Gemma Frisius Fund has invested 29 million euro in 47 spin-off companies.
The Louvain Technology Fund is a multi-sector technology fund which invests in the spin-offs of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and start-ups in Belgium and neighbouring countries. VIVES II is funded by a dozen leading Belgian and European investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), SFPI-FPIM, Fortis Private Equity Belgium, BPI France (France), ING Belgium, Sofina, AXA Belgium, Belfius, IRD (France), NivelInvest and by SOPARTEC. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of start-ups, from validation of the technology to commercial maturity. The funds (VIVES I - €15 million and VIVES II - €43 million) are managed by SOPARTEC, UCL’s technology transfer company.