25/07/2019 – 08:00 | Portfolio
Today, Gimv, Sofinnova and Gilde Healthcare announced the sale of biopharmaceutical company Breath Therapeutics. Specialising in advanced and first-in-class inhalation therapies for severe respiratory diseases, Breath Therapeutics collected around EUR 43.5 million in one of the largest start-up financing rounds in 2017. With the support of the investors, two global Phase III trials are currently underway for inhalation therapy solutions for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), an orphan lung disease with fatal outcome and no therapies approved. The strategic buyer is the Italian family-owned pharmaceutical and chemical company Zambon.
In March 2017 Gimv and Sofinnova Partners (France) led an investment in Breath Therapeutics. Other investors included Gilde Healthcare (Netherlands) and PARI Pharma as the licensor of the inhalation devices. In addition to financial resources, Gimv was instrumental in supporting Breath Therapeutics with its expertise during the spin-off process, the setup of a syndicated financing structure, and during the implementation of both strategy and streamlined internal processes. By bringing in this external expertise, Breath Therapeutics was able to grow their in house innovation into a mature therapy and to establish an excellent expert team in Europe and USA.
Dr. Karl Nägler, Partner and responsible for Life Sciences within Gimv’s Health & Care team, says: “ We are pleased about the successful development of the company over the last two years, as Gimv has played a key role in the strategic alignment and setup of the platform for growth right from the start. The potential impact of Breath Therapeutics and the drug was apparent to us at an early stage, since lung diseases are unfortunately becoming more common at a dramatic rate – especially due to environmental factors and changing lifestyle habits. Breath Therapeutics – with the help of Zambon – is well-positioned for successfully further developing and marketing the product in the future and expanding into new fields of application.”
Dr. Jens Stegemann, Chief Executive Officer of Breath Therapeutics, commented: “At Breath Therapeutics, we have created a product capable of changing lives around the world. In Zambon, an ethical company with a strong heritage of innovation and a genuine commitment to a patient-orientated approach, we have a partner who shares our vision. We have advanced a potential first-in-class therapy for BOS, just started two global Phase III studies, to a strong position but with Zambon’s infrastructure, expertise and commitment to R&D, we have the chance to expedite the process of bringing this critical treatment to as many patients as possible, as soon as possible. We thank our former partners Gimv, Sofinnova and Gilde Healthcare for supporting us in the important first few years, while we were taking the first steps towards developing our business.”
This exit has an immediate positive impact of around EUR 20 million on the Net Asset Value of Gimv as of 31 March 2019. Gimv has realised a return on this investment which is far above its long-term target of 15%.
For more information on this transaction, we refer to the attached press release of Zambon.