Kizoo portfolio company and Harvard spin-off CELLVIE closes $5.5M of additional funding to accelerate the development of Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation as a new treatment modality
$5.5M financing led by Taiho Ventures LLC, with participation of existing investors, including the Series Seed lead, Kizoo Technology Capital GmbH. Fresh capital to be employed to get cellvie ready for its Series A by the end of 2023, by accelerating the development of the company’s technology platform, strengthening the team, and further establishing mitochondria manufacturing
Zurich/Switzerland and Houston/USA, February 06, 2023 – cellvie Inc., a leader in Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation (TMT) an approach developed at Harvard Medical School, closes a $5.5 Million financing to get Series A-ready by the end of 2023.
Mitochondria are intimately tied to the origin of complex life, the energy of the young and the decline of the old. They are commonly known as the powerhouses of the cell, generating most of its needed energy and operating as critical intra-cellular communication nodes. Mitochondria dysfunction has been tied to a host of diseases, ranging from neurodegenerative ailments, over heart attacks and strokes, to age-related degeneration. “Whilst Mitochondria have been known as disease targets for a long time, treating them has proven challenging”, notes Dr. James McCully, a co-founder of cellvie and inventor of TMT. That’s why he turned to transplanting viable mitochondria to reinvigorate the cell energy metabolism, which was impaired due to ischemia, an undersupply of oxygen which arises in medical conditions such as heart attacks or stroke and during organ transplantation.
“Given the insights gained and treatment successes shown by my scientific co-founders, we have always viewed mitochondria as a potential new category of medicines”, says Dr. Alexander Schueller, co-founder and CEO of cellvie. “To realize the modality’s potential, we have therefore focused our efforts over the past two years on scalable productization – developing an allogeneic off-the-shelf product – and research on new therapeutic applications of mitochondria – such as in gene therapy delivery and aging related degeneration.” With this additional funding, cellvie intends to accelerate and expand the scientific development of its mitochondria platform and to further strengthen the organizational foundations in preparation for the Series A. Dr. Schueller notes that “while many companies need to conserve cash and slow down shortly before raising their next round of funding, we are now in the position to speed up and form an even stronger basis to immediately and efficiently put the Series A funding to work.”
Taiho Ventures LLC joins Kizoo Technology Capital as one of cellvie’s primary investors and will take a board seat to help the company realize its ambitions. “We see great potential in the therapeutic use of mitochondria, particularly in the fight against cancer, and we believe that cellvie is very well positioned to become a leader in this emerging field”, says Sakae Asanuma, President and CEO of Taiho Ventures LLC. Kizoo is also a significant co-investor in this round, having gained ever more confidence in the technology and the potential of the team since leading the company’s seed round in 2020. Frank Schueler, Managing Director at Kizoo and member of the board at cellvie says: “The team has done a tremendous job in advancing our understanding and pushing the boundaries of mitochondria-based therapies. So it was only natural for us to continue to support cellvie as one of our key startups.”
Cellvie plans to start raising its Series A in 2023. The proceeds shall be used for establishing a GMP grade production, completing a Phase I clinical trial in the first indication, and to continue the development of prioritized pipeline assets.
About cellvie Inc. and cellvie AG
Founded in the US and operationally headquartered in Zürich in Switzerland, cellvie is developing medicines from cells, leveraging the therapeutic potential of mitochondria. The company was founded by Drs. McCully, Schueller, del Nido and Emani in 2018. Dr. McCully pioneered the approach of Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation at Harvard Medical School and the team has now set out to bring it about as a new treatment modality in ischemia-reperfusion injury, aging, and beyond. Further information can be found at www.cellvie.bio.
About Tahio Ventures LLC
Taiho Ventures, LLC is the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a Japanese specialty pharma focusing on oncology, allergy and immunology, and urology. Taiho Ventures is looking at early-stage preclinical oncology companies as well as platform technology companies for our core therapeutic areas. Taiho Ventures will review the wide variety of modalities for both biologics and small molecules. The company will also consider the option type of investments and spin-outs, in addition to the pure equity investments. Further information can be found at www.taihoventures.com.
About Kizoo Technology Capital
Kizoo provides seed and follow-on financing with a focus on rejuvenation biotech. Having been entrepreneurs, VC, and mentors in both high-growth tech and biotech companies ourselves for many years with multiple exits and massive value created for the founders, Kizoo now brings this experience to the emerging field of rejuvenation biotech. We see it as a young industry that will eventually outgrow today’s largest technology markets.
As part of Michael Greve’s Forever Healthy Group, Kizoo directly supports the creation of startups turning research on the root causes of aging into therapies and services for human application. Investments include Cellvie, Cyclarity, Revel Pharmaceuticals, Elastrin Therapeutics, MoglingBio, and others.
Forever Healthy’s other initiatives include hosting the annual Rejuvenation Startup Summit, funding translational research on the root causes of aging, and providing evidence-based evaluations of new rejuvenation therapies.