MU Spin-off CasInvent Pharma Raises €1.3 Million from Foreign Investors

A unique investment has been made in the university spin-off company CasInvent Pharma, which is developing compounds with anticancer properties. The KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I and i&i Biotech Fund invested 1.3 million in the company. With this funding, CasInvent Pharma will be strengthening the development and preclinical testing of a compound for the treatment of leukaemia.

13 Sep 2022

Veronika Filipová (HAVEL & PARTNERS s.r.o.), Martin Peckl (HAVEL & PARTNERS s.r.o.), Peter Nussbaumer (KHAN-I), Michael Krebs (KHAN-I), Eva Janouškovcová (CTT), Pavlína Janovská (MU), Vítězslav Bryja (MU), Vojtěch Helikar (CasInvent), Alexander Scheer (CasInvent), David Stibal (i&i Prague), Barbora Šumová (i&i Biotech Fund), Ivan Volmuth (i&i Biotech Fund), Radoslav Trautmann (CTT), Kamil Paruch (MU), Mikuláš Vargic (i&i Prague)

CasInvent Pharma is developing proprietary compounds that play a crucial role in serious cancer disease processes. Now, further research can be built on this foreign investment, which is exceptional in the field of scientific research. "The investment of €1.3 million further confirms the quality of the scientific project created and developed for several years at Masaryk University. The establishment of the spin-off company CasInvent Pharma was a logical step to commercialise these efforts. I am very pleased that the Technology Transfer Office of MU is part of such an important achievement," said Radoslav Trautmann, Head of the Technology Transfer Department, Masaryk University.

In the Czech Republic, this is one of the largest and most successful examples of transferring a scientific research idea into practice in the last few years. "The establishment of spin-off companies is an important part of the functioning of modern universities, through which the results of university research and especially their application in practice can be further developed. Every success of our spin-offs only proves that it should be natural for Masaryk University to support, motivate and help scientists in this direction and to connect them with the application sphere," added Martin Kvizda, Vice-Rector for External Relations and Lifelong Learning at Masaryk University.

This is KHAN-I's first investment in a Czech start-up and the first joint investment with the recently established i&i Biotech Fund. "The ability of this spin-off to convince renowned international investors confirms its ambition to be successful on a global scale. It is great to be part of this journey. We are also pleased to be able to support with our investment research that could help treat serious diseases such as leukaemia in the future," says Ivan Vohlmuth, one of the partners of i&i Bio. Michael Krebs and Peter Nussbaumer, managing partners of KHAN-I, also speak highly of both the project and the Masaryk University support network that made CasInvent Pharma possible.

The company CasInvent Pharma was established in 2020 as a spin-off of Masaryk University in cooperation with the investment partner i&i Prague. The company was founded by Kamil Paruch, Vítězslav Bryja, Eva Janouškovcová, Jaromír Zahrádka, Radoslav Trautmann, Jana Daňková and David Stíbal. Its initial goal was to test compounds that block the enzyme casein kinase 1 (CK1), which is responsible for the migration of leukaemia cells to lymphoid organs. "We are confident that through the support of our investors, we will be able to further develop our compounds faster to reach the clinical trials phase and to demonstrate the therapeutic anticancer effects of CK1 inhibition in patients," said Vojtěch Helikar, CEO of CasInvent Pharma.

The CasInvent inhibitors have shown promising effects on hard-to-treat leukaemias, suggesting a possibility of using them to treat other cancer diseases which currently have limited treatment options. Overall, there were over 300,000 deaths caused by leukaemia in 2020.

You can view the full press release below:

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