Vaccines alone are not enough to fight Covid-19. Experts pinpointed during several occasions on the importance of having antibody-based treatments available in combination with vaccines.
This is precisely the “focus” of Exevir Bio, a spin-off of VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie) created in July 2020 on the basis of the discoveries made by two worldwide renowned professors: Xavier Saelens and Nico Callewaert (VIB - UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology), in collaboration with professor Johan Neyts (Rega Institute - KULeuven). Starting from the smaller sized llama antibodies, the so called Nanobodies ™, they created new SARS-Cov-2 neutralizing antibodies, which prevent the Covid-19 virus from entering human cells. This drug candidate will act in addition to vaccines, in treatment and in prevention.
On March 9, 2021, the VIB published hopeful news: ExeVir’s solution remains effective against all actual known SARS-Cov-2 mutations. Today, March 16, another important communication is made possible: the young company announces the extension of its first fundraising (23 million euros raised in 2020) with an additional 19 million euros. This financing was led by Fund + together with VIB, UCB Ventures, SFPI-FPIM, but also new investors joined, such as VIVES IUF, SRIW, Noshaq, Sambrinvest as well as a few Belgian family offices.
"VIVES IUF is joining this adventure because we have a product with global potential, a 'Best in class', which can meet the current and also future challenges posed by coronaviruses on humans. Simultaneously, it is an opportunity to strengthen the existing research links between UCLouvain (prof. David Alsteens), VIB (prof. Xavier Saelens and prof. Nico Callewaert), KULeuven (prof. Johan Neyts) and ExeVir, through contributing in the development of a therapeutic approach by the end of this year, in particular with clinical trials carried out at the Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc. The impact for Wallonia is already significant: preparation of the clinical product in Braine at UCB, clinical trials conducted in different hospitals, ongoing discussions with several of our companies related to production opportunities… ", explains Philippe Durieux, CEO of VIVES.
With this first investment, VIVES Inter-University Fund confirms its objectives: accelerate research for the benefit of all and transform the results of cutting-edge European scientific research into high-potential entrepreneurial projects with a strong societal impact.
About VIVES Inter-University Fund
Established in July 2020, VIVES Inter-University Fund is a multi-sector technology fund that invests in projects with a positive societal and/or environmental impact. It takes over from VIVES I and VIVES II, launched by UCLouvain in 2003 and 2011, which made it possible to invest so far in 27 projects, attracting nearly € 650M. Key outcomes: iTeos (listed on the Nasdaq), Novadip, Tessares, Axinesis, Botalys, Upstreem, Virovet, E-Peas, Aphea, Syndesi, SmartNodes, etc.
VIVES Inter-University Fund is the third fund managed by Sopartec, UCLouvain’s technology transfer and investment company. The first closing of the VIVES IUF fund is capitalized to the level of € 32M with a final target of € 50M. The main investors are Belfin, BNPP Fortis Private Equity, IMBC Spinnova, ING Belgium, Investsud, Namur Invest, Invest BW (Nivelinvest), Finance & Invest.Brussels (SRIB), Sambrinvest, Securex, SFPI-FPIM as well as Sopartec and its management team .
VIVES IUF is involved in spin-offs from UCLouvain or its partner universities, being: KULeuven (BE), University of Paris (FR), University of Wageningen (NL), University of Luxembourg (LU) – as well as in start-ups located within a perimeter of 400 kilometers around Louvain-la-Neuve.
Philippe Durieux (CEO)
Tel: + 32 472 20 63 55