ViaNautis Bio Ltd closes US$25m Series A financing

Intracelluar drug delivery specialist ViaNautis Bio Ltd will use US$25 raised in a Series A financing to push applications of its bionic nanoparticle platform polyNaut.

The US$25m round of cambridge-based ViaNautis Bio Ltd, founded in 2018 as SomaServe, was led 4BIO Capital, BGF (both UK), and UCB Ventures (UK, US, and Belgium) with participation from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company and existing investors including Origin Capital, Meltwind and O2H. The proceeds from the round will fuel the rapid development of products using the British company’s polyNaut platform, expand staff and establish laboratory facilities.

PolyNaut applies nanoparticle-like polymer materials, which easily cross biological membranes and barriers.  Those are subject to in silico screening to precisely guide small molecules and pDNA, mRNA, siRNA and ASOs to intracelluar targets. Unlike conventional drug delivery methods, polyNaut tackles the challenge of transporting genetically encoded drugs across biological barriers, and thus holds promise for  hard-to-target diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis or  central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The company’s pipeline includes the VNS002 programme focusing on identifying optimal formulation candidates for targeted delivery to the conducting airways in the lungs.

ViaNautis was spun out of University College London (UCL) in 2018 by co-founders Dr Francesca Crawford, Dr Denis Cecchin, and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia, the inventor of polyNaut, who is also head of the Molecular Bionics Group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia at the Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology (IBEC).  The company’s mission is to licence its technology to biotech and pharma companies and to build a pipeline of drug candidates starting with cystic fibrosis and neurological targets.
PolyNaut is a nano-engineered polymer technology designed for targeted intracellular delivery. It enables polymer nanoparticles to deliver a wide range of payloads from small molecules to genetic materials creating a sort of bionic nanoparticle. The adaptable polymer structure of polyNaut can be formulated to encapsulate a wide array of genetic cargoes, with sizes exceeding current standards for viral and non-viral delivery. Notably, it enhances the therapeutic efficacy of encapsulated molecules through direct traget cell-specific delivery , facilitated by GOTO technology for intracellular shuttling. PolyNaut enables molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier through transcytosis.