Vectalys, VC Firm Form New Gene-Therapy Company FlashCell
Vectalys, a Toulouse, France-based biotechnology company specializing in lentiviral manufacturing services, and Auriga Partners, a venture-capital firm, have partnered to form FlashCell, a new gene-therapy company specialized in developing RNA carriers (non-integrating lentiviral vectors) for therapeutic applications.
“The strength of FlashCell is to leverage a new generation of lentiviral particles, which allow RNA delivery without integration of the transferred genetic material into the target cells genomic DNA,” said Pascale Bouillé, Chief Executive Officer of Vectalys. “FlashCell will also take advantage of Vectalys expertise and state-of-the-art technology for lentiviral tools production to develop gene editing as well as immunotherapy programs for therapeutic purposes.”
FlashCell has raised EUR 1.5 million ($1.7 million) of capital to fund its creation and the first steps of its development. Auriga Partners, through its seed fund, Auriga IV Bioseeds, conducted this first private placement. FlashCell says it will conduct proprietary therapeutic programs and also form co-development and licensing agreements with pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies for the use, further development, and global commercialization of the LentiFlash non-integrative RNA delivery system.
Based on the licensed and proprietary LentiFlash technology, FlashCell says it will be able to address disease areas such as cancer, viral, or genetic diseases by developing treatments mediated by RNA delivery.
In the following months, FlashCell says it will put in place resources and the structures to ensure its developments, which include building its executive, business development, and scientific teams as well as setting up its corporate governance structures. Pascale Bouillé, CEO of Vectalys, will act as FlashCell’s CEO in this period of time. The company says it expects to reach preclinical proof-of-concept stages for its gene-editing and immunotherapy programs, which it is currently developing with academic teams. FlashCell said it will have a privileged access to Vectalys research and future GMP lentiviral production platform to conduct these programs. The goal is to complete the preclinical development of the proprietary therapeutic program in 2018 and to start the first-in-man clinical trial in 2020. The company said it also plans to implement revenue-generating collaborative research and licensing partnerships with large biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.