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Biotech startup Cimeio receives 46 million Swiss francs for cell therapy

14.04.2022

Cimeio Therapeutics from Basel has received initial financing amounting to 46 million Swiss francs from Versant Ventures. The startup is developing an innovative approach for cell therapies. It aims to be a much gentler therapy for leukemia patients, for example.

The Basel-based investment group of Versant Ventures and its Ridgeline Discovery Engine have established the startup Cimeio Therapeutics AG with researchers from the University of Basel. According to a press release from the University of Basel, the cell therapy developed by Cimeio intends to make the interaction of the immune system gentler for patients with leukemia or severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Versant has provided startup financing for this amounting to 46 million Swiss francs after conversion.

Cimeio focuses on an innovative approach for the transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and adoptive cell transfer (ACT). The project received early support through the technology transfer platform Unitectra from the universities of Basel, Bern, and Zurich, the Innovation Office of the University of Basel, and the startup accelerator BaseLaunch.

Current stem cell therapies involve the implantation of stem cells from the blood of a healthy donor. However, before this, the patient’s own stem cells must be eliminated by radiation therapy or chemotherapy, which places a huge burden on the body. After transplantation, therapy to treat any potential remaining diseased cells cannot be continued as this would also attack the new immune system.

Cimeio’s innovative cell therapy uses computer models to develop protein variants that allow donor cells to be differentiated from recipient cells. Computational biologist Dr. Rosalba Lepore states: “Our approach labels the donor immune cells without interfering with their functionality.” This means that certain cells can be eliminated in a targeted way.

Cimeio CEO Thomas Fuchs comments in a press release: “Our Shielded-Cell & Immunotherapy Pairs represent a fundamentally new approach to cellular therapy. We believe our technology platform has the potential to significantly improve HSC transplant, and will one day allow it to be given as an outpatient procedure in some circumstances.”

The startup is based at Technologiepark Basel.

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