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Antibiotic resistance: Pherecydes Pharma raises €8.7M ($10.3M)

Pherecydes Pharma, a biotechnology company specialized in the research and development of anti-infective therapies based on the use of bacteriophages, today announces that it has raised €8.7M ($10.3M) during a Series B round of financing. The new investors are GO CAPITAL, who led this round, along with Omnes Capital, Fa Dièse and a group of business angels from the Rhône-Alpes region. Historical investors ACE Management, Auriga Partners and Participations Besançon have also contributed significantly to this round of financing.
With this financial support, the company plans to produce phages for compassionate use (ATU or Temporary Authorization for Use) in accordance with GMP. Pherecydes will move two programs into the clinical phase in 2018 and 2019: PHOSA for the treatment of severe Staphylococcus aureus infections and PNEUMOPHAGE for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa respiratory tract infections. The financing will be used, as well, to set up a 10,000 square feet (approx 1,000M2) pharmaceutical production unit in Nantes. In addition, new research programs will be launched in 2018 and 2019.
Phage therapy is an innovative therapeutic approach for the treatment of bacterial infections, particularly those acquired in hospitals – (HAI) and/or resistant to antibiotics. According to the O’Neill report, if antibiotic resistance continues to increase it will result in the deaths of 10 million people each year and a 2% to 3.5% reduction in global GDP from 2050 onwards. The WHO estimates that the annual costs generated represent €7bn ($8.3bn) in Europe and $6.5bn (€5.5bn) in the United States. The rapid development of antibiotic resistance has become a major public health issue. In 2017, the WHO published a list of priority targets, which includes those pathogens selected by Pherecydes.
The investors were convinced by the unique expertise developed by the company in the production of highly purified phages. Pherecydes plans to quickly become an integrated company, with its own production capacities. Overall, the biotechnology startup has raised a total of €13.6M ($16.2M). This includes this round of financing, as well as €2.6M ($3.1M) raised in 2015 and €2.3M ($2.7M) raised since its creation in 2007.
“Over the next few years, phage therapy will play a major role in the global fight against antibiotic resistance. We are certain that Pherecydes is in a strong position to become a driving force in phage therapy. We were all attracted by Pherecydes’ high-caliber team as well as the technology platform, which is already clinically well proven on a compassionate use basis. The company has ambitious targets and we are delighted to support the development of such a project with high-quality investors at our side,” said Leila Nicolas, investment director at GO CAPITAL.
“Since the beginning of our relationship with Pherecydes Pharma, we have been able to ascertain the relevance of the technology,” said Delphine Dinard, investment director at ACE Management. “Infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria have become a major public health issue. Pherecydes Pharma’s business model means that revenues from the sale of its bacteriophages can be expected in a very short period of time. We are extremely pleased to welcome GO CAPITAL, Omnes, Fa Dièse and new business angels as investors in Pherecydes Pharma to support it in this exciting stage of development.”
“This financing is a major step for the company. It allows Pherecydes to become a commercial company with its own industrial capacities,” said Guy-Charles Fanneau de La Horie, CEO of Pherecydes Pharma.
“We are going to make the transition from a start-up to an integrated company with commercial activity,” said Jérôme Gabard, COO of Pherecydes Pharma.
Representatives from GO CAPITAL and Omnes will soon be appointed to the company’s supervisory board. Auditors will represent Fa Dièse and the group of business angels. ACE Management and Auriga Partners will keep their seats, as will both current independent members.