MILAN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Epsilen Bio, a biotechnology company developing transformative therapies for patients affected by underserved medical conditions through stable epigenetic silencing of genes involved in pathological processes, announced today the appointments of Julia Berretta, Ph.D, as Chief Executive Officer, and Mathieu Simon, M.D., as Chairman of the Board.
The company also announced it has entered into a strategic collaboration with the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget), a world-renowned research center devoted to gene therapy, directed by Professor Luigi Naldini. Within the collaboration Epsilen Bio will further develop the epigenetic silencing technology with the group of Epigenetic Regulation and Targeted Genome Editing led by Dr. Angelo Lombardo, and exclusively in-licensed by Epsilen Bio.
The announcements follow the successful close of a seed financing of €2.3 million from Sofinnova Partners, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm, through the Sofinnova Telethon Fund. The fund is the largest in Italy dedicated to early-stage biotech startups targeting cures for rare and genetic diseases.
Dr. Simon and Dr. Berretta join Board Members Paola Pozzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, Luca Guidotti, Deputy Scientific Director of the IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, and Francesca Pasinelli, CEO of Fondazione Telethon and Board Observer.
Dr. Berretta is also CEO of Genespire, a gene therapy company that is part of a series of investments recently made by Sofinnova Partners. Additionally, she is an independent Board member of Treefrog Therapeutics, an innovative stem cell company. Previously, Dr. Berretta was part of the Executive Committee of Cellectis S.A., a Nasdaq-listed clinical stage gene editing company developing CAR-T cell therapies for cancer, where she led business development as well as strategic planning.
Dr. Simon is Chairman of the Board of Idorsia and Independent Board Member of VAXIMM and Lysogene. He is also a member of the AFFIMED supervisory board. Previously, Dr. Simon was Chief Operating Officer of Cellectis SA and CEO of Cellectis Therapeutics. He was the former head of global pharma operations at Pierre Fabre and also held EU regional management roles and senior corporate functions at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
“We are excited to have Dr. Berretta and Dr. Simon joining Epsilen Bio,” said Ms. Pozzi. “These appointments add both an industrial and an international perspective to the company, and we are delighted to support such a distinguished global team working on highly transformative science.”
Epsilen Bio’s scientific co-founder, Dr. Angelo Lombardo, added, “Dr. Berretta and Dr. Simon have a deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical and the biotechnology industry. Their expertise will be crucial in helping to translate the science we developed at SR-Tiget into candidate therapeutic products for patients affected by underserved medical conditions”.
“I am extremely pleased to join Epsilen Bio as Chairman of the Board,” Dr. Simon said “The company’s unique technology of “episilencing,” developed at SR-Tiget by Dr. Lombardo and Pr. Naldini, has the potential to be a game changer in the field given its versatility and applicability to a variety of diseases.”
About Epsilen Bio
Epsilen Bio is a biotechnology company developing transformative therapies for patients affected by underserved medical conditions, through stable and long-lasting epigenetic silencing of genes involved in pathological processes. Based in Milan, Italy, Epsilen Bio was founded in December 2019 by the renowned gene therapy experts Dr. Angelo Lombardo and Prof. Luigi Naldini, as well as Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele. Epsilen Bio is a spin-off of SR-Tiget, a world-leading cell and gene therapy research institute, and received seed funding from Sofinnova Partners. For more information, please visit: www.epsilenbio.com
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences. Based in Paris, France, with offices in London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of 40 professionals from all over Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The firm focuses on paradigm-shifting technologies alongside visionary entrepreneurs. Sofinnova Partners invests across the Life Sciences value chain as a lead or cornerstone investor, from very early-stage opportunities to late-stage/public companies. It has backed nearly 500 companies over more than 48 years, creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2 billion under management. For more information, please visit: www.sofinnovapartners.com
Based in Milan, Italy, the San Raffaele-Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget) is a joint venture between the Ospedale San Raffaele and Fondazione Telethon. SR-Tiget was established in 1995 to perform research on gene transfer and cell transplantation and translate its results into clinical applications of gene and cell therapies for different genetic diseases. Over the years, the Institute has given a pioneering contribution to the field with relevant discoveries in vector design, gene transfer strategies, stem cell biology, identity and mechanism of action of innate immune cells. SR-Tiget has also established the resources and framework for translating these advances into novel experimental therapies and has implemented several successful gene therapy clinical trials for inherited immunodeficiencies, blood and storage disorders, which have already treated >115 patients and have led through collaboration with industrial partners to the filing and approval of novel advanced gene therapy medicines.
About Fondazione Telethon
Fondazione Telethon is a non-profit organisation created in 1990 as a response to the appeals of a patient association group of stakeholders, who saw scientific research as the only real opportunity to effectively fight genetic diseases. Thanks to the funds raised through the television marathon, along with other initiatives and a network of partners and volunteers, Telethon finances the best scientific research on rare genetic diseases, evaluated and selected by independent internationally renowned experts, with the ultimate objective of making the treatments developed available to everyone who needs them. Throughout its 30 years of activity, Fondazione Telethon has invested more than € 528 million in funding more than 2.630 projects to study more than 570 diseases, involving over 1.600 scientists. Fondazione Telethon has made a significant contribution to the worldwide advancement of knowledge regarding rare genetic diseases and of academic research and drug development with a view to developing treatments. For more information, please visit: www.telethon.it
About Ospedale San Raffaele
Ospedale San Raffaele (OSR) is a clinical-research-university hospital established in 1971 to provide international-level specialised care for the most complex and difficult health conditions. OSR is part of Gruppo San Donato, the leading hospital group in Italy. The hospital is a multi-specialty center with over 60 clinical specialties; it is accredited by the Italian National Health System to provide care to both public and private, national and international patients. Research at OSR focuses on integrating basic, translational and clinical activities to provide the most advanced care to our patients. The institute is recognized as a global authority in molecular medicine and gene therapy, and is at the forefront of research in many other fields. Ospedale San Raffaele is a first-class institute which treats many diseases and stands out for the deep interaction between clinical and scientific area. This makes the transfer of scientific results from the laboratories to the patient’s bed easier. Its mission is to improve knowledge of diseases, identify new therapies and encourage young scientists and doctor to grow professionally. For more information, please visit: www.hsr.it