Start-up Ribonexus receives €2 million from Bpifrance to fight resistance to targeted therapies
Founded in 2021 by Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy, Ribonexus is a biotechnology company born from the union of the scientific and medical expertise of its co-founders, Dr. Stéphan Vagner, head of the Genome Integrity, RNA and Cancer Unit (Institut Curie, CNRS, Inserm) and Professor Caroline Robert, head of the dermatology department and co-director with Stéphan Vagner of the translational research group on melanoma within the Inserm U981 unit at Gustave Roussy. The company focuses on fighting tumor cell resistance to targeted therapies by specifically targeting the mRNA translation step. Indeed, although targeted therapies are a valuable tool for destroying tumors, their main limitation remains the decrease in the effectiveness of this treatment over time. This results in the development of resistance to targeted therapies and the survival of small populations of cancer cells, often leading to relapse.
Institut Curie is proud to announce that Ribonexus has received €2 million in deep tech funding from Bpifrance. This funding, which has been granted in connection with the French government’s ‘Deeptech Plan’, will be used to select the best drug candidate to enter preclinical development and leverage its proprietary platform based on a key selective pathway.
Only one year after the creation of Ribonexus and a fund raising of 4 million euros, we are particularly pleased with this new support which will allow us to pursue our work in order to select the best drug candidate to counter resistance to existing anti-cancer therapies.
explains Dr. Stéphan Vagner, co-founder of Ribonexus.
Ribonexus, whose R&D programs focus on the treatment of melanoma, is developing a pipeline of molecules targeting the eukaryotic translation Initiation Factor-4A (eIF4A). This target is highly active in a variety of solid and hematologic cancers, including melanoma, and is associated with resistance to many current therapies. Inhibiting eIF4A appears therefore to be a promising therapeutic approach.
Following our recent partnership with the leading pharmaceutical group Pierre Fabre, this funding is a clear recognition of the high potential of our pipeline, aiming to restore sensitivity and avoid resistance to current targeted therapies to dramatically improve the standard of care in cancer patients. Thanks to this strong pipeline, our experienced team of drug developers, scientists and investors, and this financing, we are well positioned to prepare our Series A funding round and proceed with IND-enabling studies.
said Alejo Chorny, COO at Ribonexus.
Ribonexus’ long-term strategy includes reinforcing its early-stage oncology pipeline and expertise to assess and expand its programs beyond melanoma to treat other cancer indications. The company is also looking to establish a licence agreement with a pharmaceutical / biopharma company based on the clinical data generated through the eIF4A inhibitor program.
 The deep tech financing provided by Bpifrance is intended to fund the research and development phases of innovative, breakthrough projects prior to their industrial and commercial launch. Established in 2019, the Deeptech plan is comprised of funds worth €2.5Bn ($2.72Bn) over five years, with the objective of financing the creation of 500 start-ups each year.