Arix Bioscience PLC (ARIX)
Arix Bioscience plc
Portfolio company Twelve Bio to be acquired alongside $85 million financing of Ensoma co-led by Arix to create best-in-class engineered cell therapy platform
London, UK, 5 January 2023 – Arix Bioscience plc (“Arix” or the “Company”) (LSE: ARIX), a global venture capital company focused on investing in breakthrough biotechnology companies, today announces the agreement to acquire core portfolio company Twelve Bio in an all-share transaction in connection with an $85 million financing of Ensoma. Arix co-led the Ensoma financing as a new investor, investing $9 million.
Twelve Bio is a gene editing company pioneering the therapeutic application of next-generation CRISPR-Cas medicines. It was a spun-out from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen and Creation House programme at Bio Innovation Institute, with Arix as the sole investor in March 2021. Ensoma is a Boston-based genomic medicines company developing one-time in vivo treatments that precisely engineer any cell of the hematopoietic system.
Arix co-led the Ensoma financing alongside existing investor 5AM Ventures. Other new investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Solasta Ventures, Catalio Capital Management and Mirae Asset. Other existing Ensoma investors F-Prime Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Viking Global Investors, Takeda Ventures, Inc., SymBiosis, Alexandria Venture Investments and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center also participated.
Proceeds from the financing will enable Ensoma to advance the development of its in vivo engineered cell therapy platform and accelerate its pipeline of genomic medicines for immuno-oncology and other therapeutic applications.
Robert Lyne, Chief Executive Officer of Arix, commented:
“Arix was instrumental in spinning out Twelve Bio and providing the resources to enable the team to develop their technology to the stage where it can play an exciting part in the future of gene editing. The agreement to acquire Twelve Bio by Ensoma less than two years after our original investment is a validation of our focus on the most promising areas of biotechnology. We are delighted to have co-led the concurrent financing alongside other investors of the highest quality and look forward to supporting the Ensoma team as they work to bring important new treatments to the clinic.”
Emile Nuwaysir, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ensoma, said:
“Ensoma’s platform will enable the next generation of smart immune cell medicines to address complex diseases. With these expanded capabilities, we can precisely engineer, in vivo, the hematopoietic stem cell with DNA edits as small as one base pair or as large as 35 kilobase insertions, with just a single intravenous administration. That combined capability is unprecedented. In addition, Ensoma now has the capital, expertise and committed partners necessary to bring our breakthrough medicines to the clinic. We look forward to welcoming the Twelve Bio team and their world-class expertise to Ensoma and are immensely grateful to new and existing investors for their support of Ensoma’s mission to democratize genomic medicines.”
In connection with the financing, Arix takes a seat on the Ensoma Board of Directors.
Closing of the acquisition of Twelve Bio is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including clearance by the Danish Business Authority pursuant to Danish foreign direct investment laws.
For more information, please contact:
Arix Bioscience plc
+44 (0)20 7290 1050
Sarah MacLeod, Ibrahim Khalil, Nick Johnson
+44 (0)20 7250 1446
Notes to Editors
About Twelve Bio
Twelve Bio was co-founded in 2019 by Stefano Stella, Ph.D., and Guillermo Montoya, Ph.D., based on research conducted at the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF) Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen. With support from the Creation House program sponsored by the BioInnovation Institute in Copenhagen and seed investment from Arix Bioscience, Twelve Bio has advanced the foundational insights from X-ray crystallography and cryogenic electron microscopy to further engineer and evolve CRISPR-Cas12a into wholly novel sequences with unique properties useful for a range of DNA editing strategies. This engineering builds on the natural advantages of Cas12a, including small size, high specificity, multiplexing and ability to target sections of DNA not amenable to other Cas nucleases. With the addition of this world-class science to the existing Ensoma platform, the company will be well-positioned to advance the field of genome engineering, develop the next generation of genome editors with gene-writing capabilities and create a new class of smart immune cell medicines targeting rare and prevalent disease.
Ensoma believes the future of medicine lies within us. The company’s Engenious™ platform combines innovative delivery technology with the full DNA editing toolkit to tackle diseases that affect millions around the world, such as cancer and autoimmune disease, as well as inherited conditions. Ensoma is supported by top-tier investors, a strategic collaboration with Takeda and a passionate team committed to a bold, global vision for genomic medicine. Ensoma is based in Boston. For more information, visit www.ensoma.com.
About Arix Bioscience plc
Arix Bioscience plc is a global venture capital company focused on investing in breakthrough biotechnology companies around cutting-edge advances in life sciences.
We collaborate with exceptional entrepreneurs and provide the capital, expertise, and global networks to help accelerate their ideas into important new treatments for patients. As a listed company, we are able to bring this exciting growth phase of our industry to a broader range of investors. www.arixbioscience.com
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