Biotech company HepaRegeniX has raised a Series B round that will allow its first candidate drug for liver disease to enter clinical trials later this year.
Based in Tübingen, Germany, HepaRegenix was founded in 2017 with a €9M Series A round. The same investors are now taking part in a Series B round that will allow the company to enter the clinical stage. Among them are Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Novo Holdings, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Coparion, and Ascenion.
The company was founded based on the discovery at the University Hospital Tübingen that a protein called mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (MKK4) is responsible for suppressing liver regeneration. Blocking this protein can unlock the ability of liver cells to regenerate, even in severely damaged livers.
Since its inception, HepaRegeniX has been identifying and testing several drug candidates to block the MKK4 protein and building up the evidence needed to take its first compound to clinical trials, which are expected to start later this year.
According to the company, its drug candidates have the potential to tackle a broad range of both acute and chronic liver diseases. One of them could be non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, a chronic liver disease that has yet no treatment and has generated interest in recent years given its big market potential.