This investment brings the total financing by Sofinnova Partners to €25 million over the past six months.
Sofinnova Partners, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm based in Paris, London and Milan, announced today an investment in Genespire, a Milan-based gene-therapy company developing best-in-class therapies for patients affected by genetic diseases. This is the third investment for the Sofinnova Telethon Fund, bringing the total financing of Italian startups by Sofinnova Partners to €25 million over the past six months. The Sofinnova Telethon Fund is the largest fund in Italy dedicated to biotechnologies, making early-stage investments in Italian companies targeting cures for rare and genetic diseases.
Genespire was spearheaded by the renowned gene therapy pioneer Professor Luigi Naldini. This investment by the Sofinnova Telethon Fund follows on the heels of its leading-edge investments in Epsilen Bio, which is developing a technology to turn off genes linked to specific pathologies without irreversibly modifying the DNA (a major potential safety advantage), and PinCell, a pre-clinical stage biotech company focused on the development of new therapies for rare dermatological diseases.
“These investments are the result of the excellent collaboration between Sofinnova Partners and The Telethon Foundation,” said Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners. “These exceptional start-up companies validate our conviction in the strength of the Italian market for supporting biotechnological advances.”
The Sofinnova Telethon Fund, managed by Sofinnova Partners, received commitments totaling €108 million, exceeding its target and establishing it as the largest fund to emerge from ITATech, a joint venture between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CdP). “We have gained unprecedented levels of support from Italian investors for our Italian biotech fund,” added Mr. Seghezzi. “We are proud and humbled by the trust we received from some of the country’s leading institutional, corporate and private investors who more than doubled the initial support provided by ITATech.”
Francesca Pasinelli, CEO of The Telethon Foundation, said the biggest winners of this partnership would be the patients who suffer from rare and genetic diseases. “This Fund has always been about them and additionally, is dedicated to elevating Italian science, supported by Italian investors and focused on Italy’s best entrepreneurs and companies,” she said. “We are seeing deep synergies between what we are doing with Sofinnova Partners and our ongoing, fruitful collaboration with the San Raffaele Hospital.”
The Sofinnova Telethon Fund team is led by technology transfer specialists Lucia Faccio and Paola Pozzi, Partners at Sofinnova Partners, who are based in the Milan office. The office also houses BiovelocITA, Italy’s first biotechnology accelerator co-founded in 2015 by Sofinnova Partners in collaboration with Silvano Spinelli and Gabriella Camboni, two serial entrepreneurs with close tiesto Sofinnova Partners. Ms. Faccio has over 20 years of experience in the domain as the Director of Research and Business Development of The Telethon Foundation and as the Director of the Technology Transfer Office at the San Raffaele Hospital. Ms. Pozzi, who succeeded Ms. Faccio at the San Raffaele Hospital, has 16 years of experience in patent portfolio market-oriented management and development leading to incorporation of new companies with strong IP assets.
The Sofinnova Telethon Fund will continue to invest exclusively in Italy, seeking to identify, create and develop some of the best companies in the field of rare and genetic diseases.
Genespire is a biotechnology company focused on the development of transformative gene therapies for patients affected by genetic diseases, particularly primary immunodeficiencies and inherited metabolic diseases. Based in Milan, Italy, Genespire was founded in March 2020 by the gene therapy pioneer Prof. Luigi Naldini, Prof. Alessio Cantore, The Telethon Foundation and San Raffaele Hospital. It is a spin-off of SR-Tiget, a world leading cell and gene therapy research institute and backed by Sofinnova Partners.
About Epsilen Bio
Epsilen Bio is a biotechnology company developing transformative therapies for patients affected by underserved medical conditions, through stable and long-lasting epigenetic silencing of genes involved in pathological processes. Based in Milan, Italy, Epsilen Bio was founded in December 2019 by the renowned gene therapy experts Prof. Angelo Lombardo and Prof. Luigi Naldini, The Telethon Foundation and San Raffaele Hospital. Epsilen Bio is a spin-off of SRTiget, a world leading cell and gene therapy research institute, and received seed funding from Sofinnova Partners. For more information, please visit: www.epsilenbio.com
PinCell is a biotechnology company targeting a novel pathological pathway to develop first-in-class anti-inflammatory therapy for the treatment of rare, severe skin diseases with high unmet medical need. Based in Milan, Italy, PinCell was founded in October 2008 as an academic spin-off of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia by the worldclass dermatology experts Prof. Carlo Pincelli and Dr. Alessandra Marconi. PinCell received seed funding from Sofinnova Partners. For more information, please visit: www.pincell.it