Aerium Therapeutics launches to develop novel therapeutics against COVID-19 and future pandemic threats
- Initial pipeline comprised of two monoclonal antibodies that show broad and significant neutralization of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants; data posted on BioRXiv and will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal
- Aerium Therapeutics has secured substantial Series A financing led by founding seed investor Omega Funds, with participation from F-Prime Capital
- Rajeev Venkayya, M.D., joins as CEO – a proven biopharmaceutical leader with significant experience in vaccine development and pandemic response policy
- Healthcare industry leaders John Maraganore, Ph.D., and Peter Honig, M.D., appointed to Board of Directors
Boston, MA and Lausanne, Switzerland, March 22, 2022 – Aerium Therapeutics, a new biopharmaceutical company launching today, is dedicated to discovering and developing novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and antiviral treatments against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and its variants, as well as future epidemic and pandemic threats. The company emerged from stealth mode with substantial Series A financing backed by founding investor Omega Funds with the participation of F-Prime Capital. Aerium was seeded and incubated by Omega Funds in 2021 and started in collaboration with its two scientific founders, Dr. Giuseppe Pantaleo (CHUV1) and Dr. Didier Trono (EPFL2) in Switzerland. Both scientists are applying their substantial expertise and research capabilities to discover new mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.
Despite the extraordinary biomedical innovation seen in COVID-19, there remains a major unmet medical need for effective therapeutic and preventive agents against the rapidly evolving SARS-CoV-2 virus, particularly in vulnerable populations for which vaccines do not provide adequate protection.
“COVID-19 has repeatedly surprised us with its continued evolution and ability to evade our immune defenses,” said Otello Stampacchia, Ph.D., Founder and Managing Director of Omega Funds and Aerium’s Executive Chair. “This realization drove the partnership we established last year with Drs. Pantaleo and Trono as well as our initial investment. While we are initially assisting populations vulnerable to COVID-19 in the prophylactic and therapeutic settings, our overall vision is to develop effective therapeutics against not just existing but also future epidemic and pandemic threats.”
Aerium Therapeutics’ initial efforts are focused on two monoclonal antibodies that, in preclinical testing, have shown potent neutralization of important COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VOCs), including Delta, Omicron and Omicron’s subvariants BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2. These findings were posted today on BioRXiv and will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.
“For the first time in history, we have the technology and scientific know-how to get ahead of the pandemic threat, and we can test that capability against new SARS-CoV-2 variants that are constantly emerging,” said Rajeev Venkayya, M.D., CEO of Aerium Therapeutics and former President of Takeda’s Global Vaccine Business Unit. “Aerium brings together world-class science, leadership and investors to prove what is possible, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this effort.”
“Our joint effort has led to the identification of a uniquely potent and broadly active combination of monoclonal antibodies, with the ability to block SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern identified to date, including Omicron and its variants,” said Dr. Didier Trono, Professor, and head of the laboratory of Genetics and Virology at the EPFL.
“Our collaboration with Aerium Therapeutics will be key in delivering these antibodies to the clinical stage, where they have the potential to play an important role in the control and the prevention of COVID-19, particularly in all those who are not protected by vaccination,” added Dr. Giuseppe Pantaleo, Professor of Medicine at the CHUV, Head of Immunology and Allergy Division.
Expert team of founders and leaders
Aerium Therapeutics has assembled a growing team of proven life science and enterprise leaders including:
- Executive Chair Otello Stampacchia, Ph.D, Managing Director and Founder Omega Funds
- CEO Rajeev Venkayya, M.D.; former President of Takeda’s Global Vaccine Business Unit; previously held senior roles at the White House and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Scientific Founder Giuseppe Pantaleo, M.D., Professor of Medicine at the CHUV, Head of Immunology and Allergy Division
- Scientific Founder Didier Trono, M.D., Professor, and head of the laboratory of Genetics and Virology at the EPFL
- Board Member John Maraganore, Ph.D.; former founding CEO at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
- Board Member Peter Honig, M.D.; Former Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Pfizer; previously held senior positions at AstraZeneca, Merck&Co and the FDA
Additional board members include: Stephen Knight, M.D., president and managing partner of F-Prime Capital; Mike Powell, Ph.D., executive partner at Omega Funds; Vincent Ossipow, Ph.D., partner at Omega Funds; Claude Ramoni, Founding Partner at Libra Law.
About Aerium Therapeutics
Aerium Therapeutics is dedicated to epidemic and pandemic preparedness through the discovery and development of antibodies and small molecule antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 and other epidemic and pandemic threats. The Aerium Therapeutics team brings world-class scientists and biotechnology veterans together with experienced investors, with operations in Boston, MA and Lausanne, Switzerland. Aerium’s lead assets are monoclonal antibodies that show broad activity against important variants of concern (VOCs) of SARS-CoV-2 including Omicron and its subvariants BA.1, B.1.1 and BA.2. The company plans to expand its pipeline to antiviral therapeutics in late 2022 and will broaden its focus to other epidemic and pandemic threats in the future. Aerium Therapeutics was founded and seeded by Omega Funds in 2021. For more information visit www.aeriumtx.com and follow us on Twitter @aeriumtx.
About Omega Funds
Founded in 2004, Omega Funds is a leading international venture capital firm that creates and invests in life sciences companies that target our world’s most urgent medical needs. Omega focuses on identifying and supporting companies through value inflection points across the full arc of innovation, from company formation through clinical milestones and commercial adoption. Omega Funds’ portfolio companies have brought 47 products to market in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, rare diseases, precision medicine and others. Please visit www.omegafunds.com for additional information.
About F-Prime Capital
F-Prime Capital is a global venture capital firm investing in healthcare and technology. For the past 50 years, our independent venture capital group has had the privilege of backing great entrepreneurs building groundbreaking companies.
With over three billion dollars under management and a global portfolio of more than 200 companies, we champion those dedicated to creating positive change in the world. In healthcare, we focus on therapeutics, medtech, and health IT & services in a stage-agnostic fashion. The healthcare fund has created 24 companies including Denali, Beam, Innovent, Orchard and Sana and has helped build many others including Blueprint, Iora, Patient Ping, Devoted and Ultragenyx. F-Prime portfolio companies have seen more than 28 products and drugs approved by regulatory agencies worldwide. Our team of investors, engineers, doctors and scientists is committed to bringing the insight, domain expertise and relationships required to help our companies make a transformational impact.
F-Prime is not offering investment advisory services nor is it offering to sell securities.
Aerium Therapeutics Media Contact:
F-Prime Media Contact:
- Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois
- École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne