$5.5 million for cellvie

Founded in the US and operationally headquartered in Zürich, cellvie is developing medicines from cells, leveraging the therapeutic potential of mitochondria, commonly known as the powerhouses of the cell. The fresh capital will be employed to accelerate the development of the company’s technology platform, strengthen the team, and further establish mitochondria manufacturing.

Mitochondria are intimately tied to the origin of complex life, the energy of the young and the decline of the old. They generate most of its needed energy and operate as critical intra-cellular communication nodes. Mitochondria dysfunction has been tied to a host of diseases, ranging from neurodegenerative ailments, over heart attacks and strokes, to age-related degeneration.

“Given the insights gained and treatment successes shown by my scientific co-founders, we have always viewed mitochondria as a potential new category of medicines”, says Alexander Schueller, co-founder and CEO of cellvie. “To realize the modality’s potential, we have therefore focused our efforts over the past two years on scalable productization – developing an allogeneic off-the-shelf product – and research on new therapeutic applications of mitochondria – such as in gene therapy delivery and aging related degeneration.”

Preparation for Series A

With this additional funding, cellvie intends to accelerate and expand the scientific development of its mitochondria platform and to further strengthen the organizational foundations in preparation for the Series A. Dr. Schueller notes that “while many companies need to conserve cash and slow down shortly before raising their next round of funding, we are now in the position to speed up and form an even stronger basis to immediately and efficiently put the Series A funding to work.”

Potential in the fight against cancer

The financing was led by Taiho Ventures LLC, with participation of existing investors, including the Series Seed lead, Kizoo Technology Capital GmbH. Taiho Ventures LLC will take a board seat to help the company realize its ambitions. “We have recognized the tremendous potential in the therapeutic use of mitochondria, particularly in the fight against cancer, and we believe that cellvie is very well positioned to become a leader in this emerging field”, says Sakae Asanuma, President and CEO at Taiho Ventures LLC.

Kizoo is also a significant co-investor in this round, having gained ever more confidence in the technology and the potential of the team since leading the company's seed round in 2020. Frank Schueler, Managing Director at Kizoo and member of the board at cellvie says: “The team has done a tremendous job in advancing our understanding and pushing the boundaries of mitochondria-based therapies. So it was only natural for us to continue to support cellvie as one of our key startups.”

Harvard spin-off

The company was founded by James McCully, Alexander Schueller, Pedro del Nido and Sitaram Emani in 2018. James McCully pioneered the approach of Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation at Harvard Medical School. “Whilst Mitochondria have been known as disease targets for a long time, treating them has proven challenging”, notes McCully. That’s why he turned to transplanting viable mitochondria to reinvigorate the cell energy metabolism, which was impaired due to ischemia, an undersupply of oxygen which arises in medical conditions such as heart attacks or stroke and during organ transplantation.

(Press release / SK)
Picture: cellvie