Rigontec GmbH, a German privately held biopharmaceutical company developing RNA-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases, announced the first closing of its Series A financing round, raising €9.45 million.
Rigontec was launched in January 2014 as a spin-out of the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Bonn, Germany. The Company’s co-founders, Prof. Gunther Hartmann and Prof. Veit Hornung, are internationally highly renowned scientific leaders in the area of innate immune recognition of viral nucleic acids and discovered 3pRNA as the ligand for RIG-I. The Company has access to the excellent infrastructure of the University Hospital Bonn, which includes state-of-the-art pre-clinical research facilities and a clinical trial unit. The company is developing synthetic ligands of a novel receptor of the innate immune system, Retinoic acid Inducible Gene I (RIG-I), which recognizes viral RNA. RNA motifs that activate RIG-I, promote the destruction of diseased cells and the induction of a lasting immune memory thereby treating and preventing recurrence of disease.
Rigontec’s lead compound ImOl100, a proprietary first-in-class product targeting RIG-I, is currently being evaluated for development in several cancer types including melanoma and prostate cancer. ImOl100 is a chemically synthesized mimic of the natural ligand of RIG-I with improved safety and drug-like properties. In various preclinical models, ImOl100 has demonstrated substantial tumor regression and systemic anti-tumor activity including long-term protection against tumor rechallenge. Rigontec’s technology also allows the design of pipeline candidates with additional gene silencing and inhibitory activities further broadening the applicability of this groundbreaking new class of drugs in the area of oncology and viral infections.
This financing round should enable Rigontec to launch clinical trials in human soon. It was co-led by Wellington Partners and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, and included NRW Bank and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). This is the second investment of Boehringer Ingelheim in RNA based therapeutics following recent partnership with Curevac.