InteRNA Technologies bv, a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, has secured a $22.4 million (€18.5 million) round, in which Aurora Science, the biotech investment company formed from the partnership of AurorA-TT, Rottapharm Biotech (the group’s historical research core, owned by the Rovati family) and Italfarmaco, a pharmaceutical company headed by the De Santis family, also participated. Existing investors Waterman Ventures and Aglaia Oncology Funds also participated.
InteRNA Technologies specializes in the development of a new generation of miRNA-based products targeting key processes in the initiation and progression of human diseases, with a focus on cancer. The round will allow the company to clinically test INT-1B3 in the treatment of solid tumors, with a focus on Triple-Negative Breast cancer, with first results expected to be available in late 2021.
“This successful extension of the Series B funding round validates the unique potential that microRNAs offer as a therapeutic modality for hard-to-treat cancers,” said Roel Schaapveld, CEO of InteRNA Technologies. “We thank AurorA Science and our current group of investors for their support in bringing our microRNA technology into the clinic and look ahead to evaluate INT-1B3’s unique mode of action, targeting not only the cancer cells themselves but also the disease-promoting tumor microenvironment.”
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AurorA Science had led its first investment last December 2020, participating in the $13.8 million (€11.4 million) round from Spanish biotech Peptomyc
AurorA Science targets high-potential assets in Europe by bridging the gap between research and industry by entering the early stages of development with know-how from research to product launch. With an industrial approach, AurorA Science aims to accelerate the scaleup of portfolio companies to reach faster key milestones in the development of drug candidates, supporting critical aspects such as manufacturing, clinical design, regulatory and business development. The investment company was launched in February 2020. President of AurorA-TT is Guido Guidi (former Head Pharma Region Europe Novartis) while Edoardo Negroni (entrepreneur in the pharma sector) and Gabriele Campi (researcher, venture capitalist and cofounder of Altheia Science) are the two managing partners and Paolo Rizzardi (former General Manager MolMed) and Pierluigi Paracchi (co founder and CEOof Genenta Science) are the venture partners.
Paracchi’s presence in the team is certainly not by chance, given that Fidim, the holding company of the Rovati family, in September 2019 underwrote the last $16 million (€13.2 million) round of the Italian-American biotech Genenta Science together with the Chinese private equity Qianzhan Investment Management.
In Paracchi’s track record there is also the exit from Eos (Ethical Oncology Science), another startup in the world of biotechnology, sold in November 2013 by the fund Principia I of Quantica sgr (which was then headed by Paracchi and his former partner Stefano Peroncini) to the U.S. group Clovis Oncology for $420 million, the best exit ever by an Italian venture capital fund. But Campi has also been dealing with Rovati for some time, as Altheia Science, a biotech startup that operates in the field of gene therapy research, had cashed in on an $11 million round in September 2018 that was also underwritten by Rovati’s Fidm-Rottapharm Biotech.
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