Polyplus-transfection raises €2.5 million in latest funding round

21 Jan 2011

Polyplus-transfection SA, which specializes in the development of innovative solutions for the delivery of nucleic acids in research and therapeutics, has announced the completion of a funding round in which it raised €2.5 million.

This new round brings in new shareholders in Polyplus-transfection, AIRFI (Alsace Inter Regio Fonds d’Investissement) and Sudinnova, which have invested €1 million and €0.5 million, respectively. Two of the company’s existing shareholders, CIC Vizille Capital Innovation and CIC Finance, also participated in this round.

Polyplus-transfection says it plans to use the funding to upscale its research and development resources, specifically in the area of new compounds dedicated to siRNA delivery, which recently yielded significant and promising preclinical results in lung and prostate cancer models.

These new research programs are additional to those in which Polyplus-transfection is already actively engaged in the area of RNA interference through its numerous partnerships with other biotechnology companies and university laboratories. In its joint programs with third parties, Polyplus-transfection acts as a specialist in in-vivo intracellular nucleic acid transfer, a critical step in any project to develop a therapy based on RNA interference.

The additional funding will enable Polyplus-transfection to significantly expand its science team. It is planning to recruit an additional 10 researchers and laboratory technicians in the short term, which will increase the total to 25, out of a total workforce of 40.

“We are delighted with this funding round, which will enable us to augment our research program into second-generation flagship compounds for therapeutic RNA interference — an intense field of research at this time,” said the chairman of the board of Polyplus-transfection, Dr. Gabriel Festoc.

“We have made effective, breakthrough innovations at a fundamental stage of the in-vivo delivery process, which is directly responsible for the problems encountered by other players in their attempts to transform molecules (such as siRNA or miRNA) into medicines. In addition, these funds will enable us to develop better-defined solutions and to provide many more demonstrations of their therapeutic effects.”

“Polyplus has succeeded in developing its core business, the sale of reagents, while maintaining a major R&D effort, which means it now has some very interesting results to show,” said Karine Lignel, director of participations at CIC Vizille Capital Innovation and non-executive director of Polyplus-transfection. “This funding round will enable the company to step up its research effort and prove the value of the solutions it has developed.”

For his part, the chairman of TechFund/AIRFI, Jean-Michel Barbier, said: “We are very enthusiastic about our investment in Polyplus-transfection, not only because its innovative therapeutic solutions are very promising but also because the company, with its two-tier business model, benefits from growing reagent sales, which have brought it close to break-even despite substantial R&D investments that absorb close to 50 per cent of its revenues.”

Following the completion of this funding round, AIRFI and Sudinnova join the ranks of Polyplus-infection’s shareholders, alongside the company’s historic investors — CIC Vizille Capital Innovation, CIC Finance and Promelys Participations.

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