The Creation House start-up company RetiPharma has decided to dissolve after their lead candidate has shown to be less efficient than expected. Instead of continuing to build on the existing pharmaceutical concept, the asset is being sent back to the five founders from the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, to improve the efficacy of the compound.
“We have created what seems to be a safe concept, and it is a shame that we did not fully meet our success criteria for the efficacy of the lead candidate we chose to focus on, when the company joined BII. We have made many important discoveries during the process, but the next step is to improve the efficacy or further develop other candidates”, says CEO Line Hartvig, who joined RetiPharma in June 2019 after more than 20 years in pharma and biotech.
From loan to donation
The company was established in 2015 as a spin-out from University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet, Glostrup. The goal of the company was to develop treatments for degenerative eye diseases based on NPY-derived peptides which has demonstrated robust neuroprotection in several studies around different academic centers.
“The team and I wished and worked hard for a different outcome, but we all agree that closing down is the right decision. Our compound shows effect, but not enough to meet our criteria for continuation”, says Line Hartvig.
RetiPharma was one of the first start-ups in the Creation House program and funded with a convertible loan of DKK 10M by BioInnovation Institute. The loan is now converted into a donation.
“The funding has allowed us to perform high quality activities using some of the best CROs and CMOs in the market to test our lead candidate, and BII has been very supportive in helping us find solutions. Failing fast is saving money, and we do not want to progress to clinical trials with a concept that needs further work, so now it is back to the lab”, says Line Hartvig.
An integral part
RetiPharma is the first BII funded company to dissolve, but Chief Business Officer at BII, Bobby Soni, expects to see more in the future because it is the name of the game as he describes it.
“We have already seen huge success for some of our Creation House start-ups, but this is our first experience with a company closing and that too has to become an integral part of BII. RetiPharma has shown operational excellence, and we were in broad agreement about their recommendation to dissolve the company”, says Bobby Soni.
Right now, he is helping the team connect with the many other start-ups in BII’s network to discuss new collaborations.
“The most important thing the team can control is the process to obtain actionable data, which they ran excellently. We also hope to see the founders develop on the strong science to bring new treatments for degenerative eye diseases to the market”, says Bobby Soni.