Calixar closes an initial EUR 875,000 funding round

Calixar SAS, a start-up providing services focused on membrane proteins, announces today that it has completed an initial funding round in which it raised EUR 875,000 from private investors and business angels. The investors that took part in this financing were Siparex, Veymont Participations, INPG Entreprise SA, and regional business angels from the Health-Angels Rhone-Alpes, Savoie Angels and Grenoble Angels networks.

The funds will enable Calixar to develop its international operations and move its research programs forward. It also means the company will be able to offer its clients even more targeted services and give a broader client base easy access to its unique technology. The technology has already been validated on a score of targets (including GPCR receptors, ionic channels, transporters and viral proteins).

Knowing how to produce, isolate and purify therapeutic or vaccine targets correctly is a major challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. Calixar’s unique approach makes it possible to preserve the native state of membrane proteins, which are involved in numerous pathologies and currently account for over 70 per cent of therapeutic targets. The company possesses an exclusive worldwide license for the exploitation of two patents held by the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and the University of Lyon. These relate to generic membrane protein extraction and crystallization processes utilizing original non-denaturing reagents. The aim is to make targets more immutable so the process of discovering new drugs and vaccines is rendered more reliable and more efficient.

“We are delighted to be able to share our vision and our development with a highly motivated group of investors, who recognized the innovative aspect of our approach,” explained the chairman and co-founder of Calixar, Emmanuel Dejean. “We plan to recruit 30 people between now and 2016 and expect to be generating annual revenues of EUR 4.5 million by then, solely from our fee-for-service activities.”

“We were attracted by the potential of Calixar’s technology and the know-how of its staff, which should enable them to surmount a major technological barrier facing research laboratories and ultimately develop more efficacious therapies,” said Fabrice Paublant, president of Health Angels Rhone-Alpes. “Calixar recently signed several research agreements in Europe and the United States, and the funds it has now raised will enable it to expand its international activities.”

About Calixar SAS

Calixar provides a comprehensive range of services focused exclusively on membrane proteins (which account for over 70 per cent of therapeutic targets), including: identification, production, extraction, purification, stabilization and crystallization. To perform these services, it starts either from biological samples or recombinant cell lines, or directly from the gene coding for the target.

Thanks to its patented technology and know-how, Calixar can isolate and purify any type of membrane protein in its complete native form, which remains stable in solution. Its services are aimed at private and public research establishments interested in the development of antibodies, especially those for therapeutic applications, drug discovery (screening and drug design) and vaccines.

Calixar was co-founded by Emmanuel Dejean and Pierre Falson in January 2011. It started life in the CREALYS incubator and is receiving ongoing support from Novacite. Now housed within the Institute of Biology and Protein Chemistry at Claude Bernard University in Lyon (a research establishment run in conjunction with France’s National Scientific Research Centre – CNRS), the company currently employs nine people and expects to generate revenues of EUR 350,000 in 2012.

About the business angels networks

Health-Angels Rhone-Alpes is a club of individual investors specialized in life sciences who support entrepreneurs in the Rhone-Alpes region undertaking innovative projects in the area of human health.

Savoie Angels aims to facilitate local investment by bringing investors and entrepreneurs into contact. Based at the Savoie Technolac technology park, the association has 160 members, manages five investment funds, and has invested in more than 30 firms since 2008.

Grenoble Angels is a group of investors seeking to exploit its members’ capital, connections and expertise to the benefit of high potential, early-stage companies that want to develop successfully. Since it was created in 2005, Grenoble Angels has funded 70 firms employing some 2,000 people, investing EUR 15 million directly and a total of EUR 60 million in conjunction with co-investors.

About INPG Entreprise SA

Founded in 1991, INPG Entreprise SA is the private subsidiary of Grenoble Institute of Technology. It is dedicated to the promotion of the research activities and results of the Institute that has six engineering schools recognized internationally for their excellence, 26 high-quality laboratories and 900 research experts. It invests in early stage research-based and high-tech companies.

About Siparex

SIPAREX Group, founded 33 years ago, is the premier independent French specialist provider of growth capital for SMEs. The group has over EUR one Billion under management, including mid-market “development capital and LBO” and “regional and innovation capital”, financing technology, innovative and regional companies. In addition, SIPAREX Group provides consulting in emerging markets. Siparex covers all of France via a strategy of close local presence, from Paris, Lyon, Besancon, Lille, Nantes, Strasbourg and also has offices in Madrid and Milan. The group employs approximately 90 staff, of which 55 are investment professionals.

About Veymont Participations

Veymont Participations, which was founded in the spring of 2011 by 14 of its senior executives, was set up to support the creation, acquisition and development of small and medium-sized businesses. It acquires minority shareholdings in these firms and put its know-how, experience and networks of associates at the disposal of those promoting new projects.