The financing will enable the company to advance its lead candidate to the clinic and to build a pipeline of next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs)
Its proprietary ADC technology opens the door for new and better treatment options for cancer patients
Lyon, France - October 14, 2022
Mablink Bioscience (“Mablink”), a biotechnology company aiming to transform cancer therapy using next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), announced today that it has raised a €31 million Series A funding round to advance its lead candidate to the clinic and to build a pipeline of ADCs using its proprietary platform technology. The round was led by Sofinnova Partners and Mérieux Equity Partners, with participation from the existing investors.
Mablink’s technology is based on a unique structure of chemical links (called “linkers”) placed between an antibody and any chosen cytotoxic molecule to be delivered into tumor cells. The unique structure of those linkers masks the cytotoxic molecule which provides a “stealthy” property to Mablink’s ADCs, conferring two highly desirable pharmacological properties. First, it enables ADCs to stay longer in the body and gives them more time to destroy tumor cells. Second, these stealth ADCs have greatly improved tolerability. These two aspects translate into a 10-fold increase of the therapeutic index observed in animal models, a potentially game-changing factor for future clinical successes in the ADC space.
“We are very proud to be joined by such experienced investors,” said Jean-Guillaume Lafay, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Mablink. “They bring the necessary funds but also the expertise and network that will be critical for the success of Mablink in bringing its first ADC to the clinic. We are also thankful to our historical investors who decided to reinvest in this round.”
The proceeds of this financing round will enable Mablink to become a clinical-stage biotech by bringing its lead candidate, MBK-103, into clinical development for the treatment of solid tumors, notably ovarian cancer. At the same time, Mablink will build a pipeline of ADCs for solid tumors.
“Mablink offers a complete solution that tackles the challenges currently limiting the development of ADCs,” said Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners. “With its “masking” technology, we have the potential to build a pipeline of products for patients without real treatment options today. We look forward to working with Jean-Guillaume and his team to transform Mablink into a global ADC player.”
Valérie Calenda, Managing Partner of Mérieux Equity Partners, said: “Merieux Equity Partners was attracted by the project at its inception in 2019 and decided to support it through its industrial accelerator M2Care before advising UI Investment and Pertinence Invest 2 to participate to the seed round. Since then, the quality of the team and the progress made reinforced our conviction that this platform can bring to millions of patients safer and more potent ADCs thanks to an improved therapeutic window. We are delighted to continue supporting MabLink by co-leading this Series A financing with our venture fund OMX Europe.”
“After a €4M Seed funding a year ago, Mablink enters a new era. We are particularly proud of the success of this Series A funding, which will exponentially increase the capacities and investments of the company in research and development, the consolidation of its pipeline as well as the hiring of seasoned profiles.” says Florian Denis, Investment Director at Elaia, for the historic investors.
Dr Calenda and Mr. Seghezzi both join Mablink’s Board of Directors.
Existing shareholders, Elaia Partners, UI-Investissement / Pertinence Invest 2 (advised by Mérieux Equity Partners), Sham Innovation Santé (advised by Turenne Capital), Fondation Fournier-Majoie, Simba Santé (Angelor) and Crédit Agricole Création also participated in the Series A.
About Mablink Bioscience
Mablink Bioscience is a biotechnology company that seeks to bring new and better treatment options to cancer patients with unmet needs. The company is developing the next generation of an emerging class of cancer drugs called antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Mablink’s patented hydrophilic drug-linker technology enables the design of homogenous, plasma-stable next generation ADCs that have high DAR (drug-to-antibody ratio) while retaining excellent pharmacological properties and tolerability. For more information, please visit mablink.com
MBK-103 is an ADC designed with Mablink’s proprietary linker, and exatecan, a potent Topoisomerase-I inhibitor, as the payload. MBK-103 targets Folate Receptor Alpha (FR), a protein overexpressed in several solid tumors with high unmet medical needs including ovarian or triple-negative breast cancers.
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability. Based in Paris, London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners is a hands-on company builder across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from seed to later-stage. The firm actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop transformative innovations that have the potential to positively impact our collective future. Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is a deeply established venture capital firm in Europe, with 50 years of experience backing over 500 companies and creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2.5 billion under management. For more information, please visit: sofinnovapartners.com.
About Mérieux Equity Partners
Mérieux Equity Partners (‘MxEP’) is an AMF-accredited management company dedicated to equity investments in the health and nutrition sector. MxEP actively supports entrepreneurs and companies with differentiated products and services, giving them privileged access to its sector expertise and international network. MxEP currently manages over € 1 billion in assets and recently closed its latest Venture Capital fund, OMX Europe Venture Fund, with the co-sponsorship of Korys. www.merieux-partners.com