Vector BioPharma becomes operational with $30 million series A

Versant Ventures has launched Vector BioPharma AG, a biopharmaceutical company developing a precision gene delivery platform devoid of viral genes. With a team of 40 members and a USD 30 million Series A commitment, the company plans to secure proof-of-concept data in key focus areas such as immuno-oncology and genome editing.

Based on the research of Andreas Plückthun, a pioneer in the field of protein engineering and professor of biochemistry at the University of Zurich, Vector BioPharma aims to transform the safety, efficacy, and specificity of drug delivery, to improve treatments for patients. Incorporating cutting-edge platform technologies, the company uses engineered adenoviral vectors to achieve cell- and tissue-specific delivery and tunable expression of genes and regulators with unprecedented precision.

Vector BioPharma focuses on viral vectors that no longer carry any viral genes and bypass the immune system to bind to specific cells in the body. Such vectors make it possible to administer very large DNA molecules, whose genes can be activated in the cells as needed, without their DNA entering the genome in the nucleus. The platform overcomes the three main obstacles other technologies face in the gene delivery field – issues with tissue-specific delivery of payloads, limitations on the size of genetic cargo that can be packaged, and challenges associated with adverse immunogenic reactions.

The launch of Vector BioPharma through Versant Ventures is the most recent company to be launched out of the firm’s Ridgeline Discovery Engine based in Basel, Switzerland. Vector will also receive $30 million as part of its Series A investment round.

“It is gratifying to see the work that started 10 years ago is now being translated into new therapies,” said Plückthun. “I look forward to working closely with the Vector team to bring these treatments to patients.”

“Versant has made several important investments in genetic medicine, including founding Crispr Therapeutics, and we believe that Vector represents a new wave of innovation in this space,” said Markus Enzelberger, a partner at Versant and a Vector board member.

Leadership and Operating Plans
Vector has built a strong leadership team and a diverse, international workforce of experts from a broad range of disciplines. Based in Basel, the startup has a 40-member staff that is expected to increase as the company expands its platform and pipeline of therapeutic candidates. This year, the company plans to have technical proof-of-concept data in key focus areas such as immuno-oncology and genome editing. In the first half of 2023, Vector expects to have in vivo data for its lead pipeline programs.

(Press release/RAN)