‘hiPSC’ Nexel attracts 15 billion won in pre-IPO “expanding overseas expansion”
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Published DATE: Dec 26, 2022
Participated in Korea Development Bank·UTC Investment
NEXEL, a company specializing in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-based organoid technology, announced on the 27th that it has attracted KRW 15 billion in investment through pre-IPO funding.
This is the first time in a year and eight months since attracting 17.5 billion won through the Series B. UTC Investment, an existing investment company, and KDB Industrial Bank, a new investment company, participated.
UTC Investment (5 billion won), an existing investment institution, and KDB Industrial Bank (10 billion won), a new investment company, participated in this round. Nexel expects that a total of 17 to 18 billion won of funding will be completed next month as there are additional investment institutions under discussion.
Nexel expects to raise sales of 2.1 billion won this year, which is a 350% increase in sales compared to last year. The company believes that the protein drug project, which is in the phase 1 clinical stage along with sales growth, has had a positive effect on attracting investment.
Based on hiPSC-based technology, Nexel produces, manufactures, and sells stem cell-derived somatic cells (cardiomyocytes, etc.) products in the U.S., evaluates the efficacy and safety of new drugs in hiPSC-derived normal/disease organoid models, and biologics-based new drugs with anti-fibrotic mechanisms. Clinical development is in progress.
Han Chung-seong, CEO of Nexel, said, "Nexel has been proving that it has differentiated technology that can increase sales through export as a stem cell biotech." We plan to invest mainly in overseas expansion, such as increasing sales and expanding business opportunities to Japan.”
Nexel was established in 2012 based on the technology developed at Korea University's School of Life Sciences, and based on hiPSC technology in October of last year, US biotech Curi Bio and Cellologics were established to produce 1,858 square meters of biotechnology near Seattle, USA. building a facility Nexell plans to enter the CDMO business for hiPSC cell therapy through Celllogics after completing the development and mass production process of hiPSC-derived somatic cells customized for consumers.
Nexel explained that it is already exporting cell products (hiPSC-based 2D cardiomyocytes) to global pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, GSK, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J). It is expected that sales growth will continue as sales and distribution expand in the North American and European markets in the future.
Nexel is the only company in Korea that participated in the development of the revised in vitro new drug safety evaluation test method (ICH Guideline S7B/E14) in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and emphasized that it has commercialized the heart safety evaluation service (NeXST) using it. . The new test method uses hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to electrophysiologically analyze the effect of new drug candidates on the heart, and is different from the existing test method in that it has higher accuracy. Nexel is collaborating with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for domestic application of the new test method.
Nexel has expanded its scope and has now established normal and disease models through liver, heart, and lung organoid studies. Through this, Nexel plans to expand its business area as an in vitro CRO in Korea and overseas by evaluating the efficacy and safety of new drugs.
Lastly, in the new drug development sector, two protein-based new drug programs obtained from hiPSC-derived hepatocyte secretions are in progress. Nexell registered patents in the US, China, and Japan for its lead program, anti-fibrotic protein ‘NP-011 (MFG-E8)’.
Nexel is conducting phase 1 clinical trials in Australia with NP-001, which is expected to be completed in the first half of next year. In the future, the company plans to expand indications to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with liver fibrosis, ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction reperfusion injury (STEMI-IRI), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
CEO Han said, “We successfully took the first step in entering the overseas market this year, and we will make efforts to be imprinted as a company that has succeeded in globalizing its business model rather than staying in Korea.” I will not disappoint you,” he said.
Reporter Sungmin Kim