Mitochondria in focus as 4BIO Capital co-leads $30.3M financing in LUCA Science

June 6, 2022 - 3 minutes

4BIO Capital, an international venture capital firm focusing on the advanced therapies sector, has co-led a $30.3M oversubscribed Series B financing in LUCA Science Inc., which is developing a novel class of mitochondria biopharmaceutical agents. 

The round was co-led with DCI Partners and existing investor Fast Track Initiative, and supported by existing international investors including Remiges Ventures and Nippon Venture Capital Co, and new investors including Nissay Capital Asahi Kasei Pharma, QB Capital/ NCB Venture Capital and SMBC Venture Capital.

The investment is the first by 4BIO Capital in Japan.

LUCA Science is working on a new class of mitochondrial therapy to restore cellular bioenergetics in dysfunctional or damaged tissues and organs. The funds from this round will be used to accelerate the research and development of the company’s pipeline toward investigational new drug submission. 

LUCA Science is also advancing its existing pipeline with a view to target additional therapeutic areas in collaboration with academic and industry partners. Proceeds from the financing will also be used to establish a manufacturing system based on its mitochondrial isolation technology (MIT) platform for intact, shelf-stable and functional isolated mitochondria as a quality-controlled biopharmaceutical agent. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction

Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when mitochondria don’t work as well as they should due to another disease or condition. 

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Since the brain and heart tissues have high energy demands, they are sensitive to oxygen deficiency. This makes them most susceptible to reperfusion injuries when oxidative stress triggers cell necrosis due to mitochondrial damage. As a result, these tissues may suffer irreversible functional and tissue damage.

LUCA Science said its recent studies have shown administering its functional and storable mitochondria to injured tissues could improve the bioenergetics and functions of such tissues.

“We have assembled a world-class syndicate of investors both in Japan and internationally, who share our vision of creating a novel class of modality using mitochondria to address a range of unmet medical needs,” said Rick C. Tsai, CEO of LUCA Science.

“This marks a key moment for the company and moves us one step closer to our goal of becoming the world leader in mitochondria therapy.”

Following the closing of the financing, Phillipe Fauchet of 4BIO Capital will join LUCA Science’s board of directors alongside Tai Harada of Fast Track Initiative and Shuntaro Kodama of DCI Partners.

Last week, UK neuroscience company NRG Therapeutics Ltd., which is working in the field of mitochondrial biology to treat Parkinson’s, motor neuron disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, received a $5.8M Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) award to fund preclinical development of its small molecule disease-modifying medicines.

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Cover image: Shutterstock

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