14th April 2023.
Leiden-based Dutch start-up OncoLize has closed a US$ 1.7 million first round to extend their preclinical success with a localized drug delivery system to treat Pancreatic- and Lung cancer.
The round was led by corner-stone investors Libertatis Ergo Holding (www.libertatisergo.com) and Tailored Solutions (from TomTom co-founder Pieter Geelen). They were joined by three high net worth impact investors. The company holds a worldwide, exclusive license for the oncology technology developed by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland. (www.rcsi.com).
The OncoLize technology uses liquid formulations to deliver a wide range of anti-cancer drugs in a safe, local and more effective manner, and it is suitable for both chemo- and immunotherapy. Injected directly into a solid tumor, the OncoLize liquid formulation thickens within seconds to form a soft gel depot. The depot erodes slowly as it releases its drug cargo over days to weeks at higher concentrations inside the tumor mass. This localized method of delivery will significantly reduce the total drug load and can diminish the many side effects associated with oral or intravenous delivery of anti-cancer drugs.
The company is using the proceeds of the investment to expand the successful pre-clinical studies and prepare for the First-in-Human pancreatic tumor studies.
OncoLize was founded by serial entrepreneur Mike G.W. de Leeuw, with 17 years’ business experience in developing injectable drug delivery systems, together with industry veterans Dr. Leo de Leede and Prof Dr. Helena Kelly, the inventor of the patented OncoLize technology platform, based at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
The production will initially be done at RCSI. Preclinical testing and surgical procedures will be carried out in Leiden – NL by the team of Dr. Luuk Hawinkels in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) led by Prof. Dr. Jeanine Elise van Hooft.
With the anticipated Series A round of US$ 8.8 million in 2024, OncoLize will set up its offices and laboratories at the Leiden Bio Science Park in the Netherlands. The first target is a Phase 1/2 trial in border-line resectable PDAC pancreatic cancer. The company aims to expand into other tumor indications in parallel to the first clinical trials. It has also joined a consortium sponsored by the Dutch Cancer Foundation for the localized delivery of modern immune-modulating drugs led by Prof. Dr. Jai Prakash from the University of Twente.
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About Libertatis Ergo Holding (LEH)
Libertatis Ergo Holding (LEH) is an independent subsidiary of Leiden University, which invests in science-based start-up companies. www.libertatisergo.com
About RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences (Dublin, Ireland) is a world-leading university for Good Health and Well-being. Ranked in the top 250 of the World University Rankings (Times Higher Education 2023), it is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. (www.rcsi.com)
About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a very serious form of cancer that is rarely curable. The prospects for life are rather limited while the quality of that life is often severely impaired by the radical treatments and the serious side effects, and at high healthcare costs. The Netherlands has acquired a leading international position in clinical innovation with the partnership Dutch Pancreatic Cancer Group (www.DPCG.nl).