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FoRx Therapeutics AG Raises EUR 10 Million Seed Round First Company to Develop a Pipeline of Drugs Targeting DNA Replication Stress for Cancer

Seasoned Biotech Executive Colin Goddard Joins as Executive Chairman

Basel, Switzerland, 22 April, 2020 – FoRx Therapeutics AG (FoRx), the biotechnology company developing a new generation of cancer drugs focusing on novel DNA Replication Stress (DRS) pathways, today announced the closing of a EUR 10 million seed financing led by M Ventures (venture capital arm of Merck), Novartis Venture Fund and Omega Funds. Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and LSP (Life Sciences Partners) also joined the seed financing. The company also announces the appointment of Colin Goddard as Executive Chairman.


FoRx is developing a new generation of drugs against a unique target class for the treatment of cancer. The company’s scientific foundations are built on the pioneering work of Professor Thanos Halazonetis, from the University of Geneva. Professor Halazonetis discovered novel DNA repair pathways, such as Break Induced Replication (BIR) that enable cancer cells to overcome DNA Replication Stress, a prevalent feature in human cancers but absent in normal, healthy cells. These repair pathways constitute a vulnerability that can be exploited for targeted intervention using synthetic lethality. The work of Professor Halazonetis describing oncogene-induced replication stress has been published in renowned scientific journals including Nature[1]. The Company’s validated BIR targets furthermore appear to have potential for both therapy and maintenance treatment as shown in preclinical knock-out models.


Newly appointed Executive Chairman, Dr. Colin Goddard, said: “I am excited to join the Board of FoRx as we embark upon this new approach for therapeutic intervention in cancer. With strong scientific foundations and a high quality investor syndicate, the Company has the potential to materially improve the options available to oncologists around the world.”


Dr. Colin Goddard has a long track record of leadership and success in the industry. He works as an investor and board member in a number of early stage and public biotechnology companies, leveraging over 30 years of experience in the industry. He is Chairman of Mission Therapeutics and BlinkBio. He was previously a non-executive director of Endocyte Inc. which was acquired by Novartis in 2018 for US$ 2.1 billion. From October 1998 until its US$4 billion acquisition by Astellas Pharmaceuticals Inc. in June of 2010, Dr. Goddard was CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dr. Goddard holds a PhD in Cancer Pharmacology.


Therese Maria Liechtenstein from M Ventures, Florian Muellershausen from Novartis Venture Fund, Vincent Ossipow from Omega Funds, Vincent Brichard from LSP, and Denis Patrick from Pfizer Ventures joined the FoRx board along with Professor Halazonetis.


Andreas Goutopoulos, current Senior Scientific Director at EMD Serono and Chief Scientific Officer at Metabomed, is supporting FoRx Therapeutics as interim Chief Executive Officer, as part of his role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at M Ventures.


[1] Nature. 2005 Apr 14;434(7035):907-13.

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Last Updated: 22-Apr-2020