TreeFrog Therapeutics, a Bordeaux, France-based biotech startup focused on developing stem cell-derived cell therapies for millions of patients, closed a $75m (€64M) Series B financing round, bringing the total funding to date to $83m (€70m).
The round was led by Bpifrance Large Venture, part of the French Public Investment Bank, joined by U.S. investment firm Leonard Green & Partners L.P., global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, and European venture capital team XAnge. In conjunction with the financing, independent board member Frederic Desdouits, PhD, has been appointed chief executive officer. Kevin Alessandri, PhD, co-founder, will relocate in early 2022 to Boston, MA, to lead the newly created U.S. subsidiary, TreeFrog Therapeutics Inc. As part of the Series B financing, Laurent Higueret (Bpifrance Large Venture) and Peter Zippelius (Leonard Green & Partners) will join the board, while Girish Pendse (Bristol Myers Squibb) will join the board as observer. The board will be chaired by Jean-Luc Treillou (co-founder).
Led by new CEO, Frederic Desdouits, PhD., TreeFrog Therapeutics is a startup company aiming to provide access to cell therapies via C-StemTM, a high-throughput cell encapsulation technology allowing for the mass-production and differentiation of stem cells in industrial bioreactors.
Since its incorporation in November 2018 in Bordeaux, France, TreeFrog Therapeutics has experienced growth, raising over €10M ($11.7M) in 2019. In January 2020, TreeFrog Therapeutics joined the FrenchTech120, an elite program for the fastest-growing technology companies in France.
The company intends to use the funds to deploy biomimetic C-StemTM technology for clinical-grade manufacturing, grow and advance to the clinic a comprehensive pipeline of cell therapies, and finance the opening of technological hubs in Boston, MA, and Kobe, Japan.
The team—currently 50+ employees—moved into a brand-new production facility of 13,000 square foot in June 2020.
Dr. Desdouits joins the company as CEO, after several years as CEO of PCAS, a Euronext Paris listed company, and managing director at Seqens CDMO, a world leader in small molecules manufacturing. Previously, he was executive vice president, Corporate Licensing, Acquisition and Market Intelligence, and director of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, Pierre Fabre Group. Dr. Desdouits also co-founded and served as managing partner at Bionest Partners, a consulting and transaction boutique specialized in healthcare and biotechnology.