Type of investment
The product development segment consists of biotech and pharma companies advancing products or technologies to proof-of-concept, clinical or otherwise, and towards marketing approval. These companies have a massive valuation uplift potential and a clear pathway to success. Flerie encourages partnering, licensing and expansion of the investor base to provide resources or opportunities. Flerie remains engaged to the appropriate endpoint, which could include the company entering commercial growth.
Alder Therapeutics, founded in 2021 by Kristian Tryggvason, is a newly formed Swedish pre-clinical stage biotech, based on discoveries and IP generated by and licensed from DUKE-NUS Medical School in Singapore and Biolamina (which Kristian co-founded). Alder focuses on building a novel cell therapy platform with the best functional cells based on the most simple and robust processes. Alder is a virtual company working with leading cell therapy experts around the world, and have established a strategic partnership with NorthX Biologics. Their unique platform, initially focusing on retinal and cardiac cell therapeutic products, will allow for better pluripotent cell therapy treatment for the wider masses.
Amarna Therapeutics is a Dutch preclinical stage gene therapy company that has developed a novel platform to address a fundamental problem and a known limiting factor of existing platforms. Specifically, their platform aims to address pre-existing immunity, which disqualifies a large patient group from current therapies, by developing a non-immunogenic viral vector for gene therapies. This innovation also enables multiple dosing without the development of neutralizing antibodies, which is not possible with AAV, and can "rescue" low responders. The team is currently conducting IND-enabling animal studies and designing an adaptive clinical trial in patients with haemophilia B, which could have the potential to become a registrational study.
AnaCardio is a Swedish clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel drugs to treat heart failure, increasing contractility with a unique and proprietary mechanism of action. It is based on Professor Lars Lund’s research at Karolinska Institutet on the ghrelin peptide, demonstrating an improvement of heart function in a proof-of-concept trial in patients without increasing oxygen consumption, arrhythmia, ischaemia, or hypotension. The lead program AC01 is an in-licensed oral peptidomimetic small-molecule being investigated in a phase Ib/IIa clinical study in 2023 in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. If proven successful, AC01 can be recognised as having block-buster potential in an area with a high unmet need.
Atrogi is a company in clinical phase developing a first-in-class drug for the oral treatment of type 2 diabetes, based on Professor Tore Bengtsson’s research at Stockholm University. The lead compound, ATR-258, is a new small molecular compound, targeting the β2-adrenoreceptor (β2-AR) in a novel way, leading to stimulation of glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, independently of the insulin signaling pathway. This leads to improvement in glycaemic control with several additional advantageous non-glycaemic effects. A phase 1 trial is ongoing with the lead candidate ATR-258 in healthy volunteers and patients for patients with type 2 diabetes. There is large interest from big pharma for a drug with such an effective and competitive profile, with blockbuster potential.
Alexandra Ekman Ryding
Beactica Therapeutics is a privately held Swedish precision oncology company committed to the fight against cancer. The company is advancing a pipeline of novel small molecule therapeutics to treat genetically defined cancers with significant unmet medical need. Beactica’s approach is centered around targeting synthetically lethal disease proteins with allosteric modulators and targeted protein degraders (PROTACs). Beactica’s lead asset BEA-17, a first-in-class targeted degrader of LSD1 and its cofactor CoREST, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for the treatment of glioblastoma. BEA-17 is also being evaluated for other cancers. Beactica aims to advance its programmes to clinical proof of concept.
Buzzard Pharma is a Swedish clinical stage oncology company developing a potent Interleukin-1 inhibitor, Isunakinra, for the treatment of solid tumors in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor (checkpoint inhibitor). Isunakinra is a chimeric protein binding to IL1R1, inhibiting signaling with high potency. The rights to the drug were acquired from Eleven Biotherapeutics in 2017, repositioning the drug from the ophthalmology area to oncology. Isunakinra is currently in phase I/II in solid tumour patients at the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, Texas. The company was founded by serial biotech entrepreneur Maarten de Château, founder of Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, sold to Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016 for up to $520 million.
Maarten de Château
Empros is a late phase clinical stage company developing EMP16, an oral anti-obesity drug product. The product is a re-purposing of established weight-loss and diabetes drugs (orlistat and acarbose). The new controlled-release formulation has an impressive therapeutic effect, while avoiding the troublesome side effects of the two compounds on their own, improving compliance and quality of life. The aim is to develop a safe oral first-line treatment for this growing patient group, with additional opportunities for paediatric, OTC and maintenance use. A phase 2a study has demonstrated a 6% weight loss compared to placebo, with a second phase 2a study to start in 2023, comparing EMP16 with MR-orlistat and Xenical.
EpiEndo is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a unique approach to inflammatory disorders that focuses on the enhancement of epithelial barrier integrity to reduce disease-causing inflammation. Epithelial cells are a key part of the barrier that makes up human lung tissue and other organs such as the gut and skin. A breakdown of this barrier is implicated in several chronic inflammatory diseases. EpiEndo’s new class of orally available macrolide, with reduced AMR effect, known as a ‘Barriolide’, shows promise as a first-in-class therapeutic for chronic respiratory diseases as well as other inflammatory indications. EpiEndo’s lead asset, EP395, is the first Barriolide to enter into Phase II clinical trials, for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). EP395, aims to be the first on-market oral, barrier strengthening and anti-inflammatory macrolide with reduced AMR effect, for the treatment of COPD, which has a significant unmet need. According to the WHO, COPD is the third leading cause of death globally, and the global economic burden of COPD projected to cost $4.8 trillion by 2030.
Geneos Therapeutics, a US-based clinical stage biotherapeutics company believes that the company’s personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines (PTCVs) may serve an important role in new immunotherapeutic paradigms for cancer. The company’s approach, using its proprietary GT-EPIC™ platform, is to target neoantigens (abnormal mutations produced by cancer cells) from individual patient tumors to develop novel and uniquely personalized treatments for cancer. They are targeting solid tumours, initially liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC). There is an ongoing phase Ib/IIa trial in second-line HCC patients, with initial encouraging results, including a number of complete responses pointing towards a potential cure in a patient group known for its poor prognosis. The company is planning a potentially registrational clinical trial and has established manufacturing supply partnerships, notably an in-depth collaboration with sister company NorthX Biologics. As manufacturing turnaround time is of utmost importance for these cancer patients, NorthX has geared up to support Geneos by optimising for a fast turnaround of these GMP plasmid DNA vaccines to significantly less than the industry standard of 12 weeks.
KAHR is an Israeli clinical stage cancer immunotherapy company developing novel bi-functional fusion proteins. Their customizable immuno-recruitment cancer drug candidates utilise various methods to synergistically disable cancer defenses and activate a targeted response involving both innate and adaptive immunity. Their Multifunctional Immune Recruitment Protein (MIRP) platform is used to develop next generation solid and haematological tumour treatments with a number of ongoing clinical and preclinical programmes. KAHR’s lead product, DSP107, is a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting agent currently in clinical development for patients with solid tumors.
Microbiotica is a UK based microbiome company, spun-out from the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK in 2016. They are a leading player in the field of microbiome-based therapeutics and biomarkers. The company can identify gut bacteria linked to phenotype with unprecedented precision in order to discover and develop live bacterial therapeutics (LBPs) and biomarkers from clinical datasets, initially focussing on immune-oncology (IO) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Their aim is to develop LBPs that can increase the response rate of cancer patients to immune checkpoint inhibitors and induce remission in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Microbiotica's two lead products, both orally-delivered capsules containing fully manufactured bacterial consortia, MB097 (immuno-oncology candidate) and MB310 (ulcerative colitis candidate) will be evaluated in Phase 1b clinical studies. In addition to its lead programs, Microbiotica is developing a pipeline of follow-on candidates and biomarkers. Microbiotica has partnered with leading organisations, such as Cancer Research UK, Cambridge University Hospitals, University of Adelaide and Genentech.
Prokarium is a UK-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, pioneering the field of microbial immunotherapy. Their pipeline is designed to unlock the next level of immuno-oncology by building on the most recent advances in cancer immunology. Prokarium’s lead program is focused on transforming the treatment paradigm in bladder cancer by orchestrating immune-driven, long-lasting antitumor effects. It builds on the natural ability of their bacterial strains to seek out and colonise solid tumours. They have developed attenuated strains capable of targeting tumours without causing pathology in normal tissues. These strains are also capable of delivering specific immunostimulatory cargo aimed at activating the patient’s immune system to destroy tumours. In parallel, the company is developing an oral RNA platform.
Sixera Pharma is a Swedish clinical stage company developing a new treatment for Netherton syndrome, an ultra-orphan (very rare) and serious skin condition. The lead candidate SXR1096 is a small molecule formulated in a cream that is applied topically on the skin, comprising of a specific inhibitor of certain proteases (Kallikreins 5, 7, and 14). SXR1096 has the potential of becoming the first available treatment for this patient group, and it has received orphan drug designation (ODD) both by the EMA and the FDA for the treatment of Netherton syndrome. A phase I/II proof of concept study is being carried out to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drug in patients at five European sites. The company’s CEO is serial biotech entrepreneur Maarten de Château, founder of Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, sold to Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016 for up to $520 million.
Maarten de Château
Strike Pharma is a Swedish company founded by KOL and serial entrepreneur Sara Mangsbo in 2021, developing a novel next generation Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC) technology within the immuno-oncology precision medicine space, the ADAC technology. ADACs are short for Adaptable Drug Affinity Conjugates and are built to improve the delivery of tailor-made synthetic molecules to specific cell types for improved immune modulation. Their aim is to take precision medicine to a new level, enabling development of individualized immunotherapeutic treatments based on the genetic profile of each patient’s tumor. Such highly targeted treatments offer the potential to increase therapeutic efficacy and reduce dosage levels thereby minimizing the risk of side effects. Their lead molecule STRIKE2001-KRAS, covering multiple KRAS mutations, is currently in preparation for phase I trials.
Synerkine Pharma is a Dutch biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of biologics, called Synerkines, that connect two different anti-inflammatory cytokines and enhance their activity via a unique mode of action. Their initial focus is on chronic pain. The company’s lead programme SK-01 is a fusion of interleukins IL-4 and IL-10 for complex regional pain syndrome, a severe form of chronic pain, and osteoarthritis. The SK-02 programme is a fusion of IL-4 and IL-13 and is being developed for in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Synerkine Pharma has proof of concept data in relevant animal models for the first in human indication and is working on the next development steps towards a first clinical trial. The ability to treat chronic pain with drugs that mimic endogenous immune molecules and are based on a different mechanism of action than the traditional analgesic drugs holds tremendous therapeutic and commercial potential.
Vitara Biomedical is a US-based MedTech company in the preclinical phase of development. Inspired by nature, Vitara is developing a fluid-filled incubator for premature infants to reduce mortality and improve quality of life compared to the current standard of care. By reducing lifelong complications such as bronchial pulmonary dysplasia, chronic lung disease, sepsis, loss of vision, and necrotizing enterocolitis the quality of life of the baby could be dramatically improved.
XNK Therapeutics is a Swedish clinical stage immunotherapy company focusing its efforts on preventing and treating cancer by developing unique and individualised NK cell-based therapies. Their autologous lead drug candidate, evencaleucel, is being investigated in a phase II study in combination with Sanofi’s anti CD 38 monoclonal antibody Sarclisa (isatuximab) as consolidation therapy following stem cell transplantation in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients. There is also ongoing research and development targeting both haematologic malignancies and solid tumours (initially bladder cancer) in mono- and combination therapy. The company has collaborations with Sanofi and MD Andersson Cancer Center. XNK has developed a proprietary technology platform of broad utility and benefits from its tailormade GMP facility, in addition to its attractive co-location with the Karolinska Institutet and the Karolinska University Hospital.
The commercial growth segment consists of companies that are already selling products or services and showcasing proof-of-concept with high growth and potential to reach profitability in the near term. These companies are generally derisked in terms of technical and product development risks, but often require larger investments and generate lower multiples. Flerie supports expansion through organic growth and M&A opportunities. Flerie will retain the investment as long as it creates value.
A3P Biomedical is a Swedish commercial stage diagnostics company for early detection of prostate cancer. They have developed the Stockholm3 test, a blood test that combines protein markers, genetic markers and clinical data with a proprietary algorithm in order to detect aggressive prostate cancer. Their test is on the market and has been included in the Swedish national guidelines. Stockholm3 has been developed by scientists at Karolinska Institutet and validated in clinical studies including more than 75,000 men, with over 25 publications in leading scientific journals such as The Lancet Oncology and European Urology. Patients benefit from a more precise test (increasing sensitivity and specificity) and healthcare providers can reduce the direct costs by 17 to 28 percent, decreasing unneccesary biopsies and MRIs. It is also being trialled in an organised screening programme by Region Värmland for men ages 50-75.
Bohus Biotech is a Swedish biotechnology company with a long history of developing and manufacturing hyaluronic acid (HA) raw material and products in three different areas: Ophthalmology, Aesthetics and Orthopaedics. They have an active R&D department developing new products for existing and new applications. Bohus Biotech are based in Strömstad, Sweden. The company has a large international network of partners with distribution in over 60 markets worldwide, with distributors that sell their products to hospitals and clinics all over the world.
Chromafora is an innovative Swedish cleantech company with a unique purification technology. It has patented methods to remove heavy metals and PFAS from polluted water, and to extract valuable metals for recycling. The company was originally active in the pharmaceutical industry but has since pivoted to focus on the mining sector. A pilot together with Swedish mining giant LKAB at the Malmberget mine, demonstrated that they were able to capture 99 percent of a single metal from the water. In several landfill leachate pilot projects, Chromaforas method has shown a unique effectiveness on reducing both short- and long PFAS also with high concentrations PFAS11. Given the success of these projects, they are now scaling up the technology in commercialization phase to meet the market needs. The interest and need to remove PFAS from waters are huge and the green energy transition demand for available metals is greater than ever. Chromafora addresses industrial actors and other business operators that have an impact on water in the environment.
NorthX Biologics is a Swedish contract manufacturing company specialising in the GMP-manufacture of biologics, expanding rapidly in the booming cell and gene therapy field, with a focus on process development and large-scale production of advanced biological drugs. The Swedish Government has given Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency) the mandate to support the establishment of an innovation hub alongside NorthX Biologics in Matfors. NorthX has the largest capacity for production of plasmid DNA in the Nordics, which is an essential starting material for gene therapy products. The company also has microbial and yeast fermentation systems and enacting plans to manufacture mammalian/human cells. In 2023, NorthX acquired a Clinical Trials Manufacturing Unit in Stockholm, expanding to viral vector manufacture and other mammalian cell culture.
Provell Pharmaceuticals specialises in the marketing of world class pharmaceutical products in the US. It seeks to provide innovative products with unique or enhanced delivery systems for better quality, stability and/or patient adherence at a lower cost. They have an exclusive marketing and distribution agreement with Merck KGaA for Euthyrox® (levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP) in the US market. The company is currently focusing on a new digital marketing campaign to sell Euthyrox as a branded product as well as evaluating possibilities of commercialising additional specialty products in the US market.
Symcel is a biocalorimetry specialist company offering tools for rapid and direct metabolic measurements on any biological sample. Symcel is developing and marketing the calScreener™, calView™ and calData™ suite of analytical tools today. The company is in the commercial phase for R&D markets with increasing traction and KOL support. There are multiple applications, including rapid microbial detection, antimicrobial development and susceptibility testing. Additionally, Symcel is developing an vitro diagnostic (IVD) instrument for implant and tissue related infections. This will ultimately cater for most types of tissue and fluid samples for infection testing, with todays development focused on infections of bone, joint and orthopedic surgical procedures. Their goal is to embed pathogen detection, species identification and AST (antibiotic susceptibility testing) in one instrument that can perform all three functions simultaneously. Solving all diagnostic steps needed for directed therapy in a one day shift, days faster than todays standard. The company has established a US office in Boston to enable further growth and support for American customers.
Flerie encourages partnerships and M&A activity to accelerate bringing treatments to patients. When this results in an acquisition, proceeds are reallocated to the investment pool in line with our evergreen strategy.
Cobra Biologics was a leading international advanced therapy CDMO with GMP approved facilities in both Sweden and the UK, sold to Cognate BioServices in 2019, which was subsequently acquired by Charles River Laboratories in 2021.
Cormorant Pharmaceuticals was a privately held, biopharmaceutical company founded by Maarten de Château and Urban Paulsson. Based on mounting research pointing to IL-8 being an important driver of malignant tumors, HuMax-IL8 (a fully human monoclonal antibody) was acquired from Genmab A/S and taken into development by Cormorant. Cormorant was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016.