Khanu Management GmbH (Khanu), a drug discovery focused fund management team, announces the successful launch of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), based in Dortmund, Germany.
The European Investment Fund (EIF, Luxemburg), the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (Vienna, Austria) and the Max Planck Foundation (Munich, Germany) committed in a first closing an investment of a total volume of € 60 million into KHAN-I for a period of 5 plus 2 years in early-stage drug discovery projects. The Khanu fund management team will invest a minority amount.
The EIF will provide up to € 30 million through “InnovFin Equity Facility for Early Stage” (IFE), an integral part of the European growth initiative. The investment is supported by the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
Projects are sourced predominantly from academia in Germany and Austria, focussing on innovative therapeutic opportunities in indications with high unmet medical need. KHAN-I will invest into either innovative project ideas covered by collaboration agreements or into start-up vehicles. The Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund (LDC), a professional drug discovery and translational research incubator originally founded by Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH (MI) will provide its drug discovery services to incubate these novel project hypotheses, where applicable.
To facilitate professional translation in life sciences in Austria, KHAN-I has founded Vienna-based wings4innovation GmbH (w4i) for scouting and executing promising drug discovery projects on behalf of KHAN-I and Khanu. The Partnership is supported by aws with funds provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Austrian Foundation for Research, Technology and Development (NFTE).
KHAN-I also signed a co-investment agreement with the Max Planck Gesellschaft e.V. (MPG), Germany´s largest basic research organisation, adding € 18 million of co-funding for drug discovery projects originating from the world class biomedical research of the Max Planck Institutes.
“With KHAN-I, we have realised a unique and powerful translational vehicle, combining successful players in the field”, summarizes Bert Klebl, one of the three managing directors of Khanu and managing director of LDC. “The line-up of the (co-) investors is both, acknowledgement of the professional and successful performance in the past decade, where we opened a new chapter in the book of German translational research with the inception of LDC by MPG and its collaborative drug discovery and development approach as well as confidence in the game-changing capabilities of this unique translational concept. With KHAN-I, Khanu, LDC and w4i, we want to get to the next level and multiply the commercial successes in early drug discovery in view of a true benefit for all patients out there.”
European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Today’s agreement adds to the Juncker Plan’s strong track record in supporting biomedical research and drug discovery projects. This kind of support for researchers and scientists to bring their ideas and innovations to market will help keep Europe at the forefront of innovation.”
EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert comments: “KHAN-I will be one of the pioneers to develop the tech transfer segment in the German and Austrian life sciences venture capital ecosystem. Without such funding, these innovations would not reach a maturity level high enough for attracting other investors or strategic acquirers. Our cooperation with KHAN-I and its investment approach is an excellent example for the achievement of EU policies to strengthen the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals for the benefit of the people in Europe.”
„The life-science-industry plays an essential role within Austria’s economy. Due to the new fund, we create new jobs and support a stronger and successful life-science-sector. As a result, KHAN-I is an inevitable measure to strengthen the international competitiveness of Austria’s life-science-industry”, says Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl, Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs of the Republic of Austria.
“Based on the co-investment agreement between MPG and KHAN I we are able to continue our very fruitful drug discovery partnership with LDC established over more than a decade and hope to generate additional treatment options for patients and return potential for both MPG and KHAN I” adds Ulrich Mahr, Member of the General Management of Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer office of the MPG.