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UK-based ViaNautis raises $25M for its next-gen drug delivery platform

ViaNautis co-founder
Picture credits: ViaNautis

Cambridge-based ViaNautis, a nanomedicine company, has raised $25 million in Series A funding. The investment was led by 4BIO Capital, BGF which recently backed Kooth and Machine Discovery, and UCB Ventures with the additional participation of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company and existing investors including Origin Capital, Meltwind, and O2H.

In addition to the investment, the company has been rebranded from its original name SomaServe. The investment will be used for the advancement of its proprietary drug delivery platform – polyNaut®. Also, it will fuel the rapid development of products using the polyNaut® platform, expand the scientific and management teams, and establish industry-leading laboratory facilities.

polyNaut®, proprietary drug delivery platform

ViaNautis was spun out of UCL in 2018 by co-founders Dr Francesca Crawford, Dr Denis Cecchin, and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia, inventor of polyNaut® and honorary professor at UCL. The company’s mission is to exploit the unique capabilities of the revolutionary polyNaut® technology.

It is a versatile nano-engineered polymer technology designed for targeted intracellular delivery. This technology enables polymer nanoparticles to deliver a wide range of payloads from small molecules to genetic materials creating a bionic nanoparticle. It enhances the therapeutic efficacy of encapsulated molecules through direct delivery to the cell cytoplasm.

The polyNaut® platform applies advanced polymer materials and in silico screening to precisely guide genetic molecules such as pDNA, mRNA, siRNA and ASOs to their intended targets. Unlike conventional drug delivery methods, it tackles the challenge of transporting genetic materials across biological barriers, advancing medicines for conditions with pressing unmet clinical needs, such as Cystic Fibrosis and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. 

Francesca Crawford, CEO of ViaNautis, commented: “We are also proud to be working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on one of our key pipeline programmes, underscoring our commitment to advancing treatments for people with cystic fibrosis and other unmet clinical needs. This fundraise marks a pivotal moment in ViaNautis’s journey and we look forward to advancing the field of gene therapy, while creating substantial value for our shareholders.”

Owen Smith, Partner at 4BIO Capital, commented: “ViaNautis presents an excellent opportunity in the world of genetic therapies by enabling the delivery of cargoes to otherwise inaccessible sites of action in the body. The polyNaut® technology overcomes the limitations of other drug delivery methods and presents a unique pathway to developing a new generation of genetic medicines for patients with few or no other treatment options.”

Lucy Edwardes Jones, Investor at BGF, commented: “ViaNautis’s polyNaut® technology represents a unique opportunity in the field of genetic therapies. This breakthrough creates a path for the development of innovative treatments for diseases that have remained unaddressed for too long. We are looking forward to supporting the team’s ambitious plans and collaborating closely with our co-investors to see this technology through to impact.” 

Steven Biesmans, Principal at UCB Ventures, commented: “Being part of ViaNautis’s journey, we’re excited about the immense promise of the polyNaut® technology. It opens a plethora of novel prospects in the world of genetic therapies, offering the ability to reach previously inaccessible treatment sites. PolyNaut® addresses a critical need, as many patients currently have limited or no treatment options.”

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