Norwegian start-up aims to unlock the potential of marine bioactives for cancer treatment

KinSea announces first closing of seed financing

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KinSea Lead Discovery AS, a biopharmaceutical start-up pioneering the use of marine bioactives for the treatment of human diseases, announces the successful first closing of its seed financing round. It includes an equity investment from KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), an early-stage life sciences venture fund based in Germany, and welcomes the new investor Berners AS, a North Norwegian investment company. A year ago, KinSea had already secured a convertible loan from KHAN-I, which was recently converted into shares.

The financing enables the company to further develop its lead program, a FLT3 kinase inhibitor based on unique chemistry from marine sources, towards preclinical and clinical testing. Data from in vivo proof-of-concept studies suggest superior properties over existing FLT3 inhibitors, including potential broad activity against known drug-induced and drug-resistant FLT3 mutations, improved selectivity, and outstanding in vivo potency. The program originates from the successful collaboration of the founding partners, Arctic University of Norway (UiT), University of Bergen (UiB), Norinnova, and Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC).

‘We are grateful for the continued confidence and support from KHAN-I, and delighted to welcome Berners AS on board’, says Jeanette Hammer Andersen, CEO of KinSea. ‘This first closing validates the transformative potential of our approach. We are very committed to take our FLT3 inhibitors through the next stages of drug discovery and development in order to provide entirely new treatment options for AML patients that are safer and more effective’.

KinSea also plans to gradually expand its drug discovery pipeline and establish a diversified portfolio of high-potential drug candidates based on novel chemical scaffolds from the Arctic Ocean for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

‘We are excited to reaffirm our commitment to KinSea and its groundbreaking work in the field of marine-derived therapeutics. The team has made significant progress over the last year, and we are convinced that their unique approach and capable team will continue to drive the maturation and expansion of their pipeline, and eventually make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives, in particular with regard to urgently needed, improved therapies for AML patients’, comments Bert Klebl, Managing Director of KHAN-I.

Mats Sæverud, CEO of Berners AS, adds: ‘In KinSea, we found an ambitious startup company that wants to make an important impact by employing natural products from the Arctic Ocean. The KinSea team has bold visions, scalable solutions, excellent expertise and skills, and fits well with Berners ´ambitions.’

KinSea has already started discussions with further investors for a second and final closing.

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