Series A financing for QLi5 Therapeutics

12 Sep 2022

Series A financing for QLi5 Therapeutics

QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH, a German-Korean joint venture developing a new class of proteasome inhibitors, has closed a €10 million Series A financing round with an international investor consortium including SV Investment (Korea), KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (Germany), Atinum Investment (Korea) and DAOL Investment (formerly KTB, Korea). QLi5 intends to use the funding to advance its highly differentiated proteasome inhibitors to the start of clinical trials.

The proteasome functions as a cellular "garbage processing plant" that eliminates misfolded, damaged or expired proteins. It is therefore crucial for cell survival and represents an interesting target for the treatment of numerous diseases in which there is an overproduction of non-functional proteins, including cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Since it was shown a few years ago that the ubiquitin degradation pathway can be targeted if appropriately labeled, the entire process of "garbage disposal" in cells has come into sharp focus.

Based on the decades of proteasome expertise of Nobel Laureate and company co-founder Prof. Robert Huber and a multi-year collaboration between his laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Lead Discovery Center (LDC), QLi5 has created a versatile platform for the development of proteasome inhibitors with outstanding selectivity, unique non-covalent binding properties and favorable pharmacodynamic properties. "QLi5 demonstrates what can be achieved when excellent science meets professional expertise in drug discovery and development," commented Kiyean Nam, CEO and CSO of Qurient, co-founder of QLi5 and long-time strategic partner of the Max Planck Society and the LDC. "We are pleased that the program is moving forward so quickly and efficiently. With the funding and additional management expertise, it is poised to deliver on its promise for many patients for whom there are currently insufficient treatment options," said Bert Klebl, Managing Director of the LDC in Dortmund, Germany. "The commitment of this prestigious investor group underscores the extraordinary potential of QLi5's proteasome programs. I look forward to being part of this team of brilliant scientists and drug developers. Together we are perfectly positioned to bring the approach to full fruition medically and commercially," said Martin Huber, CEO of QLi5.

The extremely complex, multi-subunit 3D structure of the constitutive proteasome and its special form of the immunoproteasome was elucidated in the laboratory of Prof. Robert Huber, and the principle of proteasome inhibition was explored in many years of basic research at several Max Planck Institutes. This solid structural understanding enabled the development of novel chemical series of proteasome inhibitors with a broad spectrum of selectivity.