Promethera Biosciences, a US-based cell therapies company, has secured an investment of €10m from Japanese conglomerate ITOCHU as part of the company’s Series D round.
ITOCHU is the first lead investor in Promethera’s new investment round, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year.
The US pharma firm is engaged in the development of cell therapies and complementary biopharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of a range of severe liver diseases that lack effective therapeutic cure.
ITOCHU medical business team manager Tajio Enoki said: “We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to invest in Promethera’s Series D round in addition to collaborating in business development.
“We are focusing on regenerative medicine and cell therapy in both autologous and allogenic. We are sure Promethera’s technology addresses unmet medical needs in liver disease globally.”
Recently, Promethera secured €14.6m by the issuance of convertible bonds to existing and new investors to take the total amount raised by it till date to over €90m.
In addition to its investment, ITOCHU plans to support Promethera to move forward with its product and business development strategy in Asia.
The scope of the relationship covers research and development (R&D) support for the company’s HepaStem development program in Acute on Chronic Liver Failure (ACLF), Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) and Urea Cycle Disorder (UCD) in certain Asian markets.
HepaStem is made up of liver-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells that are sourced from ethically healthy donated human organs and expanded in the lab. Currently, the product candidate is being assessed in a Phase 2a clinical trial for the treatment of ACLF.
Safety and initial efficacy results of the Phase 2a trial are likely to come out early 2019. The US cell therapy firm is looking to initiate clinical trials for HepaStem in NASH this year.
Promethera president and CEO John Tchelingerian said: “The Series D round, which we expect to close early this year, and the commitment by our existing and new shareholders participating in the recent automatically convertible bond offering will further strengthen our financial resources to drive and accelerate the HepaStem program in ACLF and NASH.”
In April 2018, Promethera acquired Swiss biopharmaceutical company Baliopharm, which is focused on the development of targeted biological therapies for immune mediated inflammatory diseases and cancer.