Innovative Molecules: 20 million Euro against Herpes

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Munich-based Innovative Molecules has closed a EUR 20 million Series A financing round led by LSP (Life Sciences Partners). Innovative Molecules plans to use the money to advance its candidate IM-250 against herpes simplex - currently in late preclinical phase - to a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study.

Innovative Molecules specializes in developing next-generation therapies for herpes simplex-induced diseases. Its product candidate, IM-250, is designed to inhibit the replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) by targeting the virus' helicase-primase enzyme complex. Because of its demonstrated effect on the viral reservoir in preclinical studies, IM-250 could become a game-changer in the treatment of HSV-related disease by altering the natural history of the disease.

Herpes simplex disease is a contagious, lifelong infection with high incidence and prevalence data, a quiet pandemic with a huge health burden and a risk factor for acquiring HIV & HPV and Alzheimer’s disease. At least 50 % of the population is infected with Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), mostly herpes labialis, whereas approx. 25% of the population is infected with Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), mostly genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection/disease. Upon diverse stimuli HSV reactivates from the latent reservoir causing recurrent herpes disease. Up to 30% of patients suffer from frequent recurrences which could be painful, socially isolating and in immuno-compromised patients even life-threatening. There is no treatment currently available that reduces or eradicates the virus reservoir as such.

Gerald Kleymann, founder & Chief Executive Officer at Innovative Molecules, comments: „Within the last 25 years the treatment of Herpes simplex has not seen an innovation that managed to reach the market. Our ambition is to change this. With IM-250 we will alter the way Herpes is treated. Our goal is to reduce or even eradicate the reservoir of the virus in order to achieve long-lasting effects, less recurrences and real benefits for patients.“

Joachim Rothe, Partner at LSP, complements: „I am pleased with LSP leading the investment syndicate of Innovative Molecules. There is an urgent medical need in Herpes-induced diseases. Current treatments have minimal efficacy and can‘t change the persistence of the infection. Moreover, resistance to todays' standard treatments occur quite often and can lead to life-threatening complications or even to the death of patients.“

Thomas Hoffmann, co-founder & financial advisor to Innovative Molecules, states: „To have gained LSP as one of the leading European life sciences funds as the lead investor for this Series A financing round is truly a quality stamp for our project. We are looking forward to working together with LSP on this exciting drug development opportunity.“