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Posted: Oct 27, 2011
RUSNANO Invests in Selecta Biosciences and BIND Biosciences to Develop and Commercialize Vaccines and Cancer Drugs in Russia
(Nanowerk News) BIND Biosciences and Selecta Biosciences, two leading nanomedicine companies, announced today that they have entered into investment agreements with RUSNANO, a $10-billion Russian Federation fund that supports high-tech and nanotechnology advances.
RUSNANO is co-investing $25 million in BIND and $25 million in Selecta, for a total RUSNANO investment of $50 million within the total financing rounds of $94.5 million in the two companies combined. The remaining co-investments, $22.25 million in each company, come from current and new investors of BIND and Selecta.
BIND and Selecta will augment their US-based core operations by establishing subsidiaries in Russia where they will develop their technology platforms in nanomedicine and access the country's scientific expertise and clinical trial resources. Financing will enable both companies to accelerate and maximize their platforms' potential for developing multiple drug products. The agreements enable BIND and Selecta to expand into Russia to conduct full-cycle drug development—from R&D through manufacturing and commercialization—and enhance access to high growth pharmaceutical markets.
The proprietary technology platforms of BIND and Selecta originated in laboratories at Harvard Medical School directed by Professor Omid Farokhzad, MD, and in laboratories at MIT directed by Professor Robert Langer, ScD, a renowned scientist who is a recipient of the US National Medal of Science, the highest US honor for scientists, and is an inventor of approximately 850 patents issued or pending worldwide. Drs. Langer and Farokhzad are founders of both companies. Professor Ulrich von Andrian, MD, PhD, head of the immunopathology laboratory at Harvard Medical School, is a founder of Selecta.
Selecta and BIND each has novel technology platforms with the potential to impact global health.
Selecta pioneers new approaches for synthetically engineered vaccines and immunotherapies. Selecta's lead drug candidate, SEL-068, is entering human clinical studies as a vaccine for smoking cessation and relapse prevention. Other drug development programs include universal human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, universal influenza vaccine, malaria vaccine, and type 1 diabetes therapeutic vaccine.
BIND develops targeted therapeutics, called Accurins™, that selectively accumulate at the site of disease to dramatically enhance effectiveness for treating cancer and other diseases. BIND's lead candidate, BIND-014, is in human clinical trials as a targeted therapy for cancer treatment. BIND's development pipeline also includes a range of cancer treatments and drugs for anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular conditions.
Anatoly Chubais, chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO, commented, "RUSNANO seeks to invest globally in companies with the highest technology potential. We are excited to attract these two leading nanomedicine companies that emerged from laboratories at MIT and Harvard. Our extensive diligence shows that BIND and Selecta have great promise to develop therapeutics that will significantly improve health for the people of Russia and around the world. I believe this transaction will be a catalyst to enhance development and commercialization of novel vaccines and cancer drugs in Russia."
US Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, commented, "An alliance such as this between RUSNANO and Selecta and BIND exemplifies the goals of the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission and represents an important opportunity for leaders in their respective fields from the Russian Federation and the United States to contribute to future progress and shared prosperity. Through this collaboration, we see tremendous potential to more rapidly globalize advanced technology from the United States by establishing operations in strategic international markets, such as here in the Russian Federation."
"I am pleased to welcome Rusnano as a strategic partner and investor with both BIND and Selecta," said Noubar Afeyan, Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, a founding investor in BIND and Selecta. "We look forward to leveraging the scientific, clinical development and financial resources available through these partnerships in order to realize the potential of nanomedicine products to create breakthrough treatments for disease. As two leading-edge biotech companies, BIND and Selecta are joining the pharmaceutical industry's globalization trends and leveraging opportunities to expand into these high growth markets to accelerate the development of their drug pipelines."
Terms of the Agreements
According to the terms of the agreements, RUSNANO will invest $50 million equally split between Selecta and BIND. As part of the agreements, Selecta and BIND have each established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Moscow, called Selecta (RUS) LLC and BIND (RUS) LLC, respectively. In addition to the investment from RUSNANO, the financing rounds include $10 million for each company from all of Selecta's and BIND's existing investors as well as other new investors. Participating in these financings are Selecta's existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, NanoDimension, and Leukon Investments, and BIND's existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, NanoDimension, DHK Investments, and EndeavourVision. The companies anticipate a second close for the remaining funds of at least $12.25 million in each of the two companies for R&D operations.
"This transaction enables us to expand our global footprint while significantly strengthening Selecta's pipeline of novel vaccines and immunotherapies," said Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., President and CEO of Selecta Biosciences. "Our capabilities in Russia give us a competitive position for complementary R&D and manufacturing expertise, as well as the ability to incorporate the needs of patients in emerging markets into our product profiles for vaccines to treat conditions such as nicotine dependence and infectious diseases."
Scott Minick, CEO of BIND, commented "This is an exceptional opportunity for BIND to expand our pipeline and accelerate the development of our targeted therapeutics for cancer and other diseases. We now have added the combination of a strong investment partner in RUSNANO, the outstanding science and engineering talents in Russia, and a presence in the strategic high-growth global health care arena."
RUSNANO was established in March 2011 as an open joint stock company created through reorganization of the state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. RUSNANO's mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. The Government of the Russian Federation owns 100 percent of the shares in RUSNANO. Anatoly Chubais is CEO and chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO.
Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and training for nanotechnology specialists, formerly conducted by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, has been entrusted to the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, a non-commercial fund also established through reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. More information about RUSNANO may be found at www.rusnano.com.
About BIND Biosciences
BIND Biosciences, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of highly selective targeted therapeutics called Accurins™. Accurins are designed to accumulate selectively at the site of disease, dramatically enhancing efficacy while minimizing toxicities. Using its Medicinal Nanoengineering™ platform, BIND is developing a pipeline of novel Accurins that hold extraordinary potential to become best-in-class drugs and improve patient outcomes in the areas of oncology, inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular disorders. BIND's lead product candidate, BIND-014, is currently in Phase 1 clinical testing in cancer patients and is designed to selectively target a surface protein upregulated in a broad range of solid tumors. BIND also develops Accurins in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners to enable promising pipeline candidates to achieve their full potential and to utilize selective targeting to transform the performance of important existing drug products. For more information, please visit www.bindbio.com.
About Selecta Biosciences
Selecta Biosciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing a new class of targeted vaccines, synthetically engineered and capable of inducing targeted antigen-specific immune responses to prevent and treat diseases. Selecta's proprietary Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP™) platform is the bases for two product lines, targeted Synthetic Vaccine Particles (tSVP™) and targeted tolerogenic Synthetic Vaccine Particles (t2SVP™). The first activates immune responses and the second induces antigen-specific immune tolerance. Selecta is developing product candidate vaccines for smoking cessation, type 1 diabetes, several infectious diseases (universal influenza, universal human papillomavirus, and malaria), cancer, and allergies. Selecta Biosciences was founded in 2008 and is based in Watertown, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.selectabio.com.