Confo Therapeutics is awarded EUR 2.6M in non-dilutive funding for the discovery of new fibrosis treatments and for expanding the use of its unique Confo® technology

Confo Therapeutics is awarded EUR 2.6M in non-dilutive funding for the discovery of new fibrosis treatments and for expanding the use of its unique Confo® technology

Ghent, Belgium – February 1, 2017

Confo Therapeutics, an emerging drug discovery company, today announced that it has received a €1.6 million grant from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). Confo Therapeutics will use the grant, which has a duration of 2 years and which will mostly be allocated to the Company’s Drug Discovery Center in Gent, to discover new GPCR agonist compounds for the treatment of fibrosis.

Last month, through its Target Discovery Center in Brussels, the Company was also awarded a €0.97 million grant from Innoviris, the Brussels Institute for the encouragement of scientific research and innovation, to further broaden the applicability of its proprietary Confo® technology.
Commenting on the grants, Dr. Cedric Ververken, CEO, said: “We are honored and grateful for the grant award from both VLAIO and Innoviris, bringing in a total of €2.6 million non-dilutive funding over a period of 2 years. The VLAIO grant will allow us to speed up our efforts to find new disease modifying therapeutics for patients with fibrosis of the liver, lungs or other organs, who currently lack effective treatment options. The Innoviris grant will be deployed to further strengthen our technical capabilities and to build internal critical mass in GPCR biochemistry and Confobody discovery in the Company’s Brussels site.”

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About Confo Therapeutics

Confo Therapeutics was co-founded in 2015 by VIB and Capricorn Venture Partners with the support of MINTS, PMV, QBIC, SOFI and V-Bio Ventures. Confo Therapeutics is a drug discovery company building a portfolio of first-in-class programs on pathway selective drugs. The company’s drug discovery programs are based on its proprietary Confo® technology, which uses antibody fragments called Confobodies to lock inherently unstable functional conformations of GPCRs as a superior starting point for drug discovery.

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are attractive drug targets in the treatment of many different conditions, playing an essential part in numerous life processes and influencing diseases. GPCRs are flexible signaling switches located in the cell membrane and pass outside signals into the cell through conformational changes.

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About fibrosis

Fibrosis, or the excessive development of fibrous connective tissue as a reparative response to injury or damage, can affect the liver, lungs or other organs, and remains an area of large unmet medical need. Nearly 45% of all deaths in the developed world are caused by chronic inflammatory and fibrogenic disorders including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary fibrosis, progressive kidney disease, systemic sclerosis, liver cirrhosis and inflammatory bowel disease (1,2). In addition, chronic inflammation and fibrotic tissue remodeling associated with neo-angiogenesis represent key mechanisms leading to the development of cancer (3), thus accounting for an additional number of deaths.

(1) Pinzani, Massimo. 2008. “Welcome to Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair.” Fibrogenesis & tissue repair 1(1): 1
(2) Karsdal, Morten a. et al. 2015. “Novel Insights into the Function and Dynamics of Extracellular Matrix in Liver Fibrosis.” American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (287): ajpgi.00447.2014
(3) Tu et al. 2014. “Novel Aspects of the Liver Microenvironment in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Pathogenesis and Development.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15: 9422