KU Leuven centre for drug design and discovery raises €70.5M for its fourth fund

19 Oct 2023 | Network Updates | Update from KU Leuven
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

The new capital is provided by KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), whose contribution is supported under the European Commission’s InvestEU initiative, as well as by the Gemma Frisius Fund (GFF). It will be used to transform groundbreaking biomedical discoveries from both biotech companies and especially academic research groups at KU Leuven and other universities, into new medicines that improve people’s lives worldwide.

CD3, founded in 2006 by the EIF and LRD, the technology transfer office of KU Leuven, initially embarked on a tech transfer experiment aimed at bridging the gap between cutting-edge biomedical research emerging from academic institutes and the pharmaceutical industry. Today, CD3 stands as a well-established, fully powered investment vehicle, offering professional drug discovery capabilities in its collaborations with academic researchers and providing funds to support and invest in spin-off companies.

This latest financing round serves as a resounding endorsement of CD3's mission and track record. With the injection of fresh capital, CD3 is poised to continue its strategic investments in new early stage drug discovery projects utilizing small molecule approaches as well as antibody technologies and bringing potential drugs into clinical development together with its industrial and investor partners. Additionally, CD3 IV is dedicated to fostering a meaningful social impact by actively supporting preparedness efforts for future viral pandemics.

Over the course of the past fifteen years, CD3 has made strategic investments in numerous projects focused on the development of groundbreaking medicines to combat viral infections as well as addressing critical disorders including neurodegenerative diseases, auto-immune disorders, cancer, and pain. These investments have resulted in fruitful partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies and multiple new medicines in development.

Dr. Patrick Chaltin, Managing Director of CD3, expressed his excitement about the new financing, stating: "This infusion of capital enables us to build upon our past successes and continue to explore new avenues in the discovery of potential drugs to address high unmet medical needs. This confirms the trust placed in CD3 by our partners LRD and EIF, now joined by the GFF, especially during the current challenging financing climate. It is very motivating to work alongside partners who share our vision of nurturing academic research into life-saving medicines, generating substantial returns on investment, and making a profound impact on human health, including in the realm of pandemic preparedness."

“Belgium really is on the forefront of medical research, and the EIB Group has supported many players in the sector in recent years.” Said EIF Deputy Chief Executive Roger Havenith. “However, getting the right type of funding to scale up promising ideas can still be a challenge. The pandemic has shown how critical it is to get this right. We’re very happy to support CD3’s new fund, so that new treatments and cures can find their way to patients.”

“Since its inception, CD3 has developed more than 30 drug discovery projects in collaboration with KU Leuven and other academic institutions from all over Europe, which resulted in more than 20 partnerships and multiple innovative drugs in development of which several are in the clinic”, said Paul Van Dun, General Manager of LRD. “With this track record, we are delighted to continue our investment in this great model combining professional drug discovery with academics in order to stimulate technology transfer and help patients.“

This article was first published on 19 October by KU Leuven.

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