Invivo Ventures leads an investment round of 4.1 million Euros in the biotech Telum Therapeutics. The operation was advised by Intelectium Funding Accelerator, an advisory firm that worked with the entrepreneurs, Roberto Diez and Rubén Diez, from the design phase of the company’s business strategy to the closing of the transaction. Clave Capital and Cdti-Innvierte have also participated in the operation.
Telum Therapeutics is working on the development of an alternative to chemical antibiotics to solve the problem of multi-resistance of bacteria. Antibiotics are drugs that fight bacterial diseases. Excessive use of these can cause the bacteria to generate resistance, that is, to mutate or transform, and the antibiotics to lose efficacy. These resistant bacteria are very difficult to treat, and therefore an increasing number of infections cause death in hospitals around the world.
Rubén Diez, CEO of Telum, has been a researcher at Rockefeller University in the USA and has specific expertise in the generation of enzyme drugs. The latter are lytic enzymes of bacteriophages that kill bacteria in a very specific way. The phage, after replication within the host, faces the problem of leaving the bacteria to spread its progeny. To overcome this, phages have developed a lytic system that weakens the bacterial cell wall, resulting in bacterial lysis. Phage lytic enzymes, or lysines, are highly efficient molecules that have been perfected through millions of years of evolution for this purpose.
The company develops the base of its potential product portfolio on an internal technological platform, developed by obtaining bacteria extracted from caves unexplored to date, which gives it the ability to generate, not only its own bacteriophage library from such samples, but also its own enzyme platform.
Telum Therapeutics’ core program, IKB206, is a new research therapy targeting infections caused by multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli. IKB206 employs a genetic modification that gives it the ability to act specifically and quickly against Escherichia coli strains with different degrees of resistance to conventional antibiotics. The company plans to start the first clinical trials with IKB206 in patients in late 2022.
Telum Therapeutics will use the funds raised in the investment round to advance to clinical phases in one of its candidates against infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria and a second compound with a greater range of action until advanced preclinical phases.