KU Leuven spin-off ViroVet successfully raises €5 million
Animal health company focused on combatting viral infections in livestock
ViroVet NV, a leading Belgian biopharmaceutical company active in the development of innovative vaccines and antiviral drugs for livestock, is proud to announce that it has successfully concluded the first closing of its series A financing round, raising 5 million euro. The financing will be used to further develop and launch its veterinary product portfolio. The investment round was led by PMV (through Biotech Fund Flanders) and Agri Investment Fund, with participations from Gemma Frisius Fund KU Leuven, Vives II and Aratana Therapeutics NV.
ViroVet pioneers in developing novel and innovative vaccines based on a unique proprietary technology platform originating from the Rega Institute for Medical Research of the University of Leuven. This technology platform has the potential to produce vaccines faster and more cost-effectively. These vaccines are tailor-made to maximize efficacy and minimize safety concerns. In addition, the vaccines are thermostable thereby removing any cold-chain requirement. ViroVet will pursue applications of this technology platform for both endemic and epizootic viral livestock diseases.
The company also develops fast-acting antiviral drugs that are critical to the effective control and treatment of respiratory diseases of cattle and swine, thereby reducing secondary bacterial infections and the associated use of antibiotics.
In light of the growing world population that drives the demand for animal protein-rich diets, it is important to improve the health and safety of livestock. However, the growth and increasing concentration of the production animal industry, intensifying global trade and the challenges posed by climate change lead to an ever-increasing risk of viral diseases spreading worldwide. Such diseases not only severely impact animal welfare and the economics of the livestock industry, but also constitute a risk to food safety/security, and threaten human health as many livestock diseases - for instance avian influenza - have zoonotic potential.
Erwin Blomsma, PhD, co-founder and CEO of ViroVet states that “with the first closing of our series A investment round, we can accelerate our research and development efforts and bring innovation to a sector that really needs it. Together with our research partners at the universities of Leuven and Louvain-La-Neuve and the seasoned team at ViroVet, we have all the ingredients to make a flying start.”
Luc Basstanie, senior investment manager at AIF (Agri Investment Fund): “Viral infections in livestock constitute a major source of production loss and affect farmers bottom lines. ViroVet’s approach represents a leap forward in the control of viral diseases, which will contribute significantly to the sustainability of the livestock production sector and to animal welfare.”
David Devigne, PhD, investment manager at PMV (Biotech Fund Flanders): “We are pleased to be part of this innovative start-up in Flanders; active as a front-runner in improving the health and value of the livestock industry, a sector that is facing the ever-increasing challenge of securing the world supply of animal protein. Additionally, ViroVet is led by a seasoned management team with whom we have collaborated successfully in the past when operating under the umbrella of Okapi Sciences.”
Paul Van Dun, General Manager of KU Leuven Research & Development: “KU Leuven has a long and strong tradition in antiviral research and in successfully bringing its research results to the market. We are pleased that, with ViroVet, its investors and its management have again put a significant step forward to translate promising research into products with a real societal impact.”