Millions in funding and new board members for Belgian mRNA company

Optics11 Life receives €5 million in funding for drug development

The mRNA technologies company eTheRNA has raised €39 million ($38.7 million) in series B2 financing.

Belgium-based eTheRNA will use the money to expand investment in its integrated mRNA technology platform and further pursue its new initiatives for a partnership-driven business strategy.

The round was led by Novalis LifeSciences LLC with participation from Professor Kenneth Chien, an expert in mRNA technology and its therapeutic applications.

Existing investors, including LSP (now known as EQT Life Sciences), PWV, Grand Pharma, Fund+, Omega Fund also participated in the financing.

Board of directors

Concurrent with this investment round, the two new investors Chien, co-founder of Moderna Therapeutics and professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and Marijn Dekkers, founder and chairman of Novalis LifeSciences LLC, will join the company’s board of directors.

Chien said: “I am delighted to be joining eTheRNA as both an investor and board member. eTheRNA’s specialized expertise and proprietary knowledge in mRNA technologies and cLNPs are consistent with my vision of the future in which cLNPs of increasingly sophisticated design will lead to novel applications in a range of currently untreatable diseases.

“I am looking forward to applying my knowledge and expertise to assist eTheRNA realize this ambition.”

Marijn Dekkers, chairman of Novalis LifeSciences, said: “We are excited to lead this new funding round for eTheRNA, and help propel the company to contribute its breakthrough technologies to the development of mRNA-based therapeutics, an area that is full of unimaginable opportunities as the coronavirus (COVID19) vaccine has shown us.”

In addition, eTheRNA announced the departure of its CEO, Steven Powell, and the appointment of current COO, Bernard Sagaert, as interim-CEO.

eTheRNA’s Business model

Since eTheRNA was founded in 2013, it has established an integrated set of proprietary capabilities for an end-to-end solution to design, develop and manufacture next-generation mRNA products based on enabling technologies.

eTheRNA’s new business model will provide products for partners in both early-stage research as well as later-stage development for mRNA therapeutics.

eTheRNA will leverage its molecular designs, lipid biochemistry expertise, customized lipid nanoparticle formulations (cLNPs), mRNA-based T cell adjuvants, and advanced manufacturing processes to overcome the current challenges facing the development of mRNA therapeutics.

By expanding its expertise in designing, synthesizing, and manufacturing cLNPs with a spectrum of properties suitable for a range of prophylactic and therapeutic indications, the company says its business model will allow it to accelerate near-term revenue growth through technology licensing and mRNA cGMP manufacturing services for multiple future partners.

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