FoRx Therapeutics, a Basel, Switzerland-based biotechnology company developing a new generation of cancer drugs focusing on novel DNA Replication Stress (DRS) pathways, closed a EUR 10m seed financing round.
The round was led by M Ventures (venture capital arm of Merck), Novartis Venture Fund and Omega Funds. Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and LSP (Life Sciences Partners) also joined the seed financing. Therese Maria Liechtenstein from M Ventures, Florian Muellershausen from Novartis Venture Fund, Vincent Ossipow from Omega Funds, Vincent Brichard from LSP, and Denis Patrick from Pfizer Ventures joined the FoRx board along with Professor Halazonetis.
Founded in the fall of 2019, FoRx is developing a new generation of drugs against a unique target class for the treatment of cancer.
Co-founded in 2019 drawing on discoveries by Thanos Halazonetis and Dr. Sotirios Sotiriou, FoRx Therapeutics is developing a new generation of cancer drugs focusing on novel DNA Replication Stress pathways activated in cancer.
The company’s scientific foundations are built on the work of Professor Thanos Halazonetis, from the University of Geneva. Professor Halazonetis discovered novel DNA repair pathways, such as Break Induced Replication (BIR) that enable cancer cells to overcome DNA Replication Stress, a prevalent feature in human cancers but absent in normal, healthy cells. These repair pathways constitute a vulnerability that can be exploited for targeted intervention using synthetic lethality. The company’s validated BIR targets furthermore appear to have potential for both therapy and maintenance treatment as shown in preclinical knock-out models.
The company also announced the appointment of Colin Goddard as Executive Chairman. Dr. Colin Goddard works as an investor and board member in a number of early stage and public biotechnology companies, leveraging over 30 years of experience in the industry. He is Chairman of Mission Therapeutics and BlinkBio. He was previously a non-executive director of Endocyte Inc. which was acquired by Novartis in 2018 for US$ 2.1 billion. From October 1998 until its US$4 billion acquisition by Astellas Pharmaceuticals Inc. in June of 2010, Dr. Goddard was CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Andreas Goutopoulos, current Senior Scientific Director at EMD Serono and Chief Scientific Officer at Metabomed, is supporting FoRx Therapeutics as interim Chief Executive Officer, as part of his role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at M Ventures.