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Bioversys bags €17.7m financing

Swiss BioVersys AG has secured a CHF19m Series B financing to push clinincal development of two antiinfectives against drug-resistant pathogens.

The Series B financing was supported in part by goetzpartners securities Ltd and Mirabaud Securities Ltd. It  complements the CHF16.5m of non-dilutive funding raised in 2019 from CARB-X and the IMI2-JU/European Union.

BioVersys AG said it will use the CHF19m primarily to advance BV100, a new formulation of an antibiotic against the multiresistant Gram-negative bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii. and BVL-GSK098, a novel tuberculosis drug co-developed with GlaxoSmithKline towards first in man studies starting this year. The CHF19m round is the biggest investment of this year into a company focussed on  anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and targeted microbiome modulation. AMR is a global healthcare threat with unmet medical need in the absence of novel life-saving treatments.

“The AMR field for new mechanisms of action and new approaches against severe and resistant bacterial infections is currently undergoing major changes,” Marc Gitzinger, CEO of BioVersys told European Biotechnology. “The point is that industry and also investors have had to learn that new antibiotics must demonstrate significant added value over existing generic drugs,” Gitzinger, who is member of the Board of the BEAM Alliance. “At BioVersys, we are focusing primarily on the benefit for patients suffering from highly resistant infections. Here, the medical need is so high that even far-sighted investors are increasingly returning to the field.”

BV100 is an antibiotic to treat serious hospital-acquired infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in indications of ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (VABP), hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia (HABP) and bloodstream infections (BSI), for which there are little to no effective and safe treatment options. BV100 has shown outstanding in vitro and in vivo efficacy in several animal models, with very low propensity to develop resistance.

BVL-GSK098 is a novel compound overcoming the resistance against Ethionamide (Eto) for the treatment of tuberculosis. BVL-GSK098 targets bacterial transcriptional regulators. BVL-GSK098 is developed in combination with Eto for the treatment of tuberculosis in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline and supported by the IMI2 AMR Accelerator from the EU.

BioVersys also announced the addition of ex-Roche and Novimmune SA manager Dr. Eduard Holdener to its board. Dr. Holdener is currently serving on the board of HBM Healthcare Investments AG.

Gitzinger warned: “As the world struggles with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of the next pandemic is already on our doorstep in the form of AMR. In his function as Board Member of the BEAM Alliance, he welcomed the AMR Action Fund, a PUSH intitiative of Big Pharma, which committed to invest up to US$1bn into AMR R&D.

According to Gitzinger, today there are many push-funding schemes for new product developments. “BioVersys was able to profit enormously here,” he said. “The last piece of the puzzle, which is now missing for a complete revival of the sector and thus also for the prevention of the next pandemic, this time caused by bacterial infections, is an adequate remuneration for antibiotics, which does not depend on the sales volume. At the 4th AMR Conference, the BEAM Alliance, which represents the interests of innovative EU AMR biotech innovators, came up with several papers and statements: In a post-conference paper they urge policymakers in Europe to set up novel reimbursement models, in a reflection paper on the EU Pharmaceutical  Roadmap the SMEs describe what exactly is needed to establish a sustainable AMR business model and with regard to the new AMR Action Fund they also summarize next steps