A groundbreaking nanomedicine company has raised £20 million in funding.

Based in Cambridge, ViaNautis Bio aims to deliver genetic therapeutic payloads across difficult-to-penetrate biological barriers via its drug delivery platform polyNaut, treating diseases with unmet clinical need.

These include cystic fibrosis – a multisystemic disease affecting the lungs, pancreas and other organs – and central nervous system diseases. 

The company’s pipeline includes VNS002, supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, focusing on identifying optimal formulation candidates for targeted delivery to the conducting airways in the lungs.

Formerly known as SomaServe, the company was spun out of UCL in 2018 by co-founders Dr Francesca Crawford, Dr Denis Cecchin, and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia, inventor of polyNaut and honorary professor at UCL.

Professor Battaglia is also an ICREA professor and head of the Molecular Bionics Group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, part of the Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology (IBEC).

The Series A round of funding was led by 4BIO Capital, BGF, and UCB Ventures with participation from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company and existing investors including Origin Capital, Meltwind and O2H.

“This successful fundraise empowers us to expedite the deployment of our proprietary polyNaut technology, which offers unparalleled access to the brain and other tissues, presenting significant opportunities to address both CNS and lung diseases,” said Crawford. 

“We are delighted to welcome our new investors and appreciate the support of our existing shareholders. We are also proud to be working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on one of our key pipeline programmes, underscoring our commitment to advancing treatments for people with cystic fibrosis and other unmet clinical needs. 

“This fundraise marks a pivotal moment in ViaNautis’s journey and we look forward to advancing the field of gene therapy, while creating substantial value for our shareholders.”

Owen Smith, Partner at 4BIO Capital, commented: “As the cell and gene therapy field gains momentum, it is evident that safe and precise delivery remains a key bottleneck in developing new therapeutics. 

“ViaNautis presents an excellent opportunity in the world of genetic therapies by enabling the delivery of cargoes to otherwise inaccessible sites of action in the body. 

“The polyNaut technology overcomes the limitations of other drug delivery methods and presents a unique pathway to developing a new generation of genetic medicines for patients with few or no other treatment options.”

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