May 27, 2021
Utrecht, The Netherlands – NTrans Technologies (NTrans), a leader in gene editing technologies, today announced a Series A investment of 2 million Euros, led by Essential Investments, together with BOP Capital, Utrecht Health Seed Fund, and Starfish Innovations. Through this investment, NTrans aims to advance the development of its gene editing-based therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The funds will be used to demonstrate preclinical efficacy and safety of the therapy in DMD disease models, in preparation for its progression to the clinic.
NTrans, a spin-off of the Hubrecht Institute of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a leader in developing novel gene editing technologies for the treatment of inheritable diseases and cancer. Its proprietary therapeutic platform to treat genetic muscle disease, triggers a cell’s natural uptake mechanism to safely deliver gene editing systems, like CRISPR-Cas, into the target cell, where it efficiently corrects the function of the defective gene.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating genetic disease characterized by progressive muscle degeneration, for which there is no cure. Onset occurs usually in boys between the ages of 2 and 3 years, whose average life expectancy is 26 years. DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene and affects all voluntary muscles in the body. NTrans’ iTOP DMD gene editing treatment will be used to preserve the critical arm function in DMD patients. Sustained upper extremity function is extremely important as it allows a patient to independently control his wheelchair, computer, phone and feed himself. It preserves a great level of independence and thereby significantly enhances the quality of life. NTrans aims to offer a treatment that will permanently repair the dystrophin gene mutation with a single intramuscular administration.
Marco de Boer, CEO of NTrans says: “We are are thrilled to have strong support from such an outstanding group of investors, each with their own broad networks, to help advance NTrans and its programs. We look forward to strengthening our team and infrastructure to progress NTrans’ innovative programs with the goal of delivering breakthrough gene-editing therapies to the patient.”
Prof. Niels Geijsen, co-founder and scientific advisor of NTrans, commented: “Gene editing technologies hold great promise for the treatment of genetic disorders, and NTrans’ platform can fundamentally improve the efficacy and safety of these therapies. In collaboration with experts at Leiden University Medical Center and other academic centers, we will optimize our technology for clinical applications, with a focus on muscle diseases.”
Peter Schoevers (Essential Investments), on behalf of the investors, commented: “We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the NTrans team. The company has demonstrated scientific excellence and we believe its technology platform can play a crucial role in the introduction of life-changing gene editing therapies into the clinic.”
About Essential Investments
Essential Investments is a seed capital fund focusing on high tech companies within the life sciences sector. The Netherlands-based fund provides seed and early-stage investments for R&D-intensive start-ups and ventures. Backed by experienced angel investors and a strong network, the fund uses a hands-on mentality to help innovations reach the market.
About BOP Capital
BOP Capital is a multidisciplinary venture fund focused on investing alongside entrepreneurs, scientists and management teams operating companies with a strong focus on innovation and impact; supporting the transition of society towards a more sustainable and socially responsible environment through challenging the status quo. While we remain sector agnostic, our portfolio companies mainly operate in the broader definition of the technology and life science industry. We have an active network of experts in various sub sectors to support us during due diligence and the partnership with our portfolio companies.
About Utrecht Health Seed Fund Utrecht
Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early-stage life sciences & health investment fund based out of Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development. UHSF is established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht. For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.
About Starfish Innovations
Starfish Innovations is an investment fund and commercialization hub that seeks to accelerate breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. Founded in 2016 by the Leiden University Medical Center, Starfish Innovations scouts for early-stage technologies in the field of regenerative medicine through her direct access to the promising science at LUMC as well as her global network of academic institutions and industry alike. For more information, please visit www.starfishinnovations.com.