TreeFrog Therapeutics, a Bordeaux-based biotech startup focused on developing safe and affordable stem cell-derived cell therapies for millions of patients, today announced the successful closing of a €64 million Series B financing round, bringing the total funding to date to €70 million.
The financing round was led by Bpifrance Large Venture, part of the French Public Investment Bank, joined by U.S. investment firm Leonard Green & Partners L.P., global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb, and European VC firm XAnge. In conjunction with the capital raise, independent board member Frederic Desdouits has been appointed CEO. TreeFrog co-founder Kevin Alessandri will relocate in early 2022 to Boston to lead the newly created U.S. subsidiary, TreeFrog Therapeutics Inc.
The fresh capital will be used to deploy biomimetic C-StemTM technology for clinical-grade manufacturing, grow and advance to the clinic a comprehensive pipeline of cell therapies, and finance the opening of technological hubs in Boston (U.S) and Kobe (Japan).
C-StemTM offers unprecedented scale and quality, enabling the exponential growth of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) and their differentiation into ready-to-transplant microtissues in industrial bioreactors. Preliminary results, recently presented at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy and International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meetings, suggest C-StemTM is the only technology capable of maintaining genomic integrity through large-scale hiPSC expansion. Based on best-in-class preclinical results in Parkinson’s disease, TreeFrog Therapeutics is preparing for a first-in-human trial in 2024, and intends to expand its pipeline of cell therapies through in-house programs and partnerships.
TreeFrog co-founder Kevin Alessandri stated: “With this Series B and the arrival of Frederic, TreeFrog Therapeutics enters a new dimension. Frederic brings in over 25 years of experience in managing fast-growing teams in biotech and pharma companies, both in France and in the U.S. We are now supported by investors with several billion dollars under management, as well as by a top-ten pharmaceutical company that successfully pioneered CAR-T cell therapies. In short, funding, management and governance are now secured, as we embark on a very exciting journey, with the deployment of technological hubs in Kobe, Japan, and Boston, MA, and the prospect of treating our first patients in 2024.”
TreeFrog was founded in the end of 2018. After just two years and, with only $7 million in Series A funding, the TreeFrog Therapeutics team transitioned C-StemTM from the bench to an industrial technology applicable to any cell therapy. TreeFrog demonstrated that C-StemTM outperforms existing technologies for pluripotent stem cell expansion in terms of scale and quality. The young company also confirmed best-in-class preclinical data for our cell therapy program for Parkinson’s disease.
Frederic Desdouits, TreeFrog’s new CEO stated: “The Series B financing allows us to dramatically increase our capacities and investments in research and development, to consolidate a pipeline of iPS-derived cell therapies targeting neurodegeneration, cardiac and metabolic disorders, as well as blood and immune-related diseases. Through therapeutic and technological partnerships, we intend to drive the adoption of C-StemTM by top biopharmaceutical players, so that we can bring the benefits of the technology, in terms of safety, efficacy and cost, to as many patients as possible.”