Lyon, France, March 9, 2020 – Calixar, a biotechnology company specialized in the isolation of complex therapeutic targets and native antigens, announces today the start of a new funding round of €2.5M ($2.7M). This strategic investment will enable the company to develop a unique pipeline of therapeutic targets and become a key player in the drug development industry. In 2019, the recognized quality of Calixar’s therapeutic targets led the US biotech company Regeneron to enter into an exclusive licensing agreement with Calixar for a major target. This agreement confirmed Calixar’s business strategy based on licensing out therapeutic targets and developing a catalog of molecules with an expected value of €92m-€923M ($100M to $1bn).
Since its initial funding round in 2012, Calixar has developed a unique isolation and stabilization technology and built a strong reputation within the pharma field. The company’s turnover in 2019 was around €1.01M ($1.1M), 90% of which was international. This new funding round will allow Calixar to expand its licensing business model and develop a pipeline of targets of pharmaceutical interest. The aim of this fundraising is for Calixar to become a leader in the early discovery segment of drug development based on complex therapeutic targets (membrane proteins), a market predicted to be worth €70bn ($76bn) by 2025 (Statista).
Developing a drug is costly and uncertain – over €923M ($1bn) in 2020, with a 95% failure rate). Moreover, only a few of the drugs authorized each year bring real health benefits. This is despite major scientific advances and ever-increasing investment, with over €138bn ($150bn) invested annually worldwide (EvaluatePharma).
Calixar was founded in 2011 with the aim of responding to those industry needs. The company developed a unique isolation and stabilization technology together with a state of the art research platform to produce high-quality native membrane therapeutic targets covering all therapeutic areas. Calixar’s platform is the answer to the mounting evidence linking the reliability of a biodrug with the quality of a therapeutic target obtained upstream.
“All the studies agree that the pharmaceutical industry needs to optimize its drug development model,” said Emmanuel Dejean, founder and CEO of Calixar. “In Calixar’s view, the challenges in clinical development relate in particular to the unreliability of the therapeutic targets isolated upstream.”
Membrane therapeutic targets (GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, etc.) are essential templates in the development of drug candidates, both in small molecule screening and in the manufacture of therapeutic antibodies, or as antigens in the development of new vaccines. Today, nearly all the available targets are obtained via denaturing purification and stabilization procedures, resulting in weaker drug candidates and vaccines. This partly explains the clinical phase failures downstream and the poor performance of several drugs on the market.
There are several thousand known therapeutic targets in humans, yet only a handful are currently available to the pharmaceutical industry. Calixar’s technology and platform enable the isolation and stabilization of therapeutic targets that were previously unavailable to the pharmaceutical actors but are known to be of primary interest. Along with improving clinical success rates, the company’s objective with this fundraising is to support the exploration of entirely new therapeutic pathways through the isolation of known targets of interest that have so far eluded the drug pipeline.
Calixar validated its technology with numerous clients and partners (pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, public and private research institutes, etc.). Its platform has been used to isolate over 100 targets involved in a number of diseases, many of which had previously never been subject to native and functional isolation. The signing of an exclusive licensing agreement between Calixar and Regeneron in 2019 confirmed the interest pharmaceutical players have in reliable therapeutic targets. It also supported Emmanuel Dejean’s determination to develop a catalog of about 100 molecules with an expected value ranging from €92M-€923M ($100M to $1bn).
This year, the Calixar team will be at the following events, to meet potential investors and partners:
- BIO-Europe Spring, March 23–25, 2020 (Paris, France)
- RESI Europe Conference, March 23, 2020 (Paris, France)
- Bio€quity Europe, May 11–12, 2020 (Dublin, Ireland)
- BIO International Convention, June 8–11, 2020 (San Diego, USA)
- Biotech Outsourcing Strategies, July 1–2, 2020 (Basel, Switzerland)
Calixar SAS is a biotechnology company based in Lyon (France), founded in 2011 by Emmanuel Dejean. Calixar develops new approaches to isolate full-length and native membrane therapeutic targets with the highest purity levels. The company produces its own pipeline of medically relevant targets and uses its technology platform for other companies that need to identify, extract and purify membrane proteins (GPCRs, ion channels, receptors, transporters and viral targets).
Calixar’s approach provides pharmaceutical companies with the opportunity to work with high-quality and reliable targets or antigens, compatible with all applications and in all areas (human, animal and plant). This includes developing antibodies and/or discovering drug candidates through structure-based drug design (X-ray and cryo-EM) or high-throughput screening assays. The Calixar platform also enables the formulation of new vaccines.