Azafaros completes EUR 25 million Series A financing to advance rare metabolic disorders pipeline

Leiden, The Netherlands, February 6th, 2020 – Azafaros B.V. announced today the successful closing of its Series A financing round raising EUR 25 million (approximately USD 28 million). This round was led by Forbion, with participation from BioMedPartners and founding investor BioGeneration Ventures (BGV). Azafaros was established in 2018 to translate innovative science from Leiden University (LU) and Amsterdam University Medical Center (Amsterdam UMC) into novel disease-modifying treatment modalities for rare genetic metabolic disorders such as lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs).

“The Series A financing round is a very significant achievement and endorsement for Azafaros. It allows us to build our organization and expand our executive team with passionate and experienced people and to advance our rare metabolic disorders pipeline,” commented Olivier Morand, Chief Executive Officer at Azafaros.

Azafaros holds an exclusive license from LU and Amsterdam UMC to a library of novel patented compounds discovered by internationally recognized experts in the field, Professor Hans Aerts, PhD, Professor Hermen Overkleeft, PhD , Professor Stan van Boeckel, PhD and their co-workers at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University.

Professor Hans Aerts stated: “Azafaros has secured the capital to develop a pipeline of first-in-class small molecules that have great potential for treating patients with rare diseases. Based on their mode of action, these compounds provide the prospect for a disease-modifying treatment combined with a convenient oral administration route that allows a life-long treatment.”

In conjunction with this Series A financing, Azafaros’ board of directors now includes:

  • Carlo Incerti, MD, Forbion Operating Partner, Chairman and Non-Executive Board Member
  • Vanessa King, PhD, independent Non-Executive Board Member
  • Olivier Morand, PhD, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Board Member
  • Sander Slootweg, MSc, Forbion Managing Partner, Non-Executive Board Member
  • Edward van Wezel, MSc, BGV Managing Partner, Executive Board Member
  • Andreas Wallnöfer, PhD, MBA, BioMedPartners General Partner, Non-Executive Board Member

Carlo Incerti, Chairman of Azafaros, added: “I dedicated most of the last three decades of my professional life to the discovery and development of drugs for rare disorders. Azafaros represents the ideal continuation of this journey as it is developing new therapies which have the potential to 2 meaningfully impact patients suffering from LSDs through a unique mode of action. These are major unmet medical needs, particularly in such diseases affecting the central nervous system. Azafaros’ lead oral small molecule holds the promise of becoming an innovative approach to treating these conditions.”

Carlo Incerti is a medical doctor who brings a wealth of experience in the development and commercialization of products for lysosomal storage disorders. Following a successful academic career, he was one of the early employees at Genzyme, eventually spending 28 years at the company. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Medical Affairs at Sanofi-Genzyme.