Leiden firm developing nasal sprays against Covid, flu raises €125 million
Leyden Labs, the developer of preventive medicines like nasal sprays against viruses, has raised 125 million euros in a new investment round. The company is working on a nasal spray against the coronavirus.
The biotech company also announced a collaboration via a licensing agreement with coronavirus vaccine developer Janssen to develop an antibody against all flu viruses. "With a vaccine, your body makes antibodies. The nasal spray offers extra protection exactly where the viruses enter the body, independent of an immune system. We put soldiers directly in the nose and pharynx," explained CEO Koenraad Wiedhaup.
According to Wiedhaup, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that more resources must be available against future viruses. The collaboration should ensure that clinical trials for the antibody can start as soon as possible. Wiedhaup could not say when the nasal sprays would be on the market.
In addition to developing products, the money will also expand the team and laboratories in Leiden and Boston in the US. Last year, Leyden Labs raised 40 million euros. This brings the total amount raised since the company started in 2020 to 165 million euros. Leyden Labs employs about 40 people. Wiedhaup expects to increase that number to about 70 in the next six months.
The investment came from existing and new investors. As in an initial investment round, health investors F-Prime Capital and Casdin Capital put money into the company. GV, the investment arm of Google parent Alphabet, and the American entrepreneur Brook Byers are also investing. Tech investor SoftBank, the British investment company INvus, and the American Bluebird Ventures were new investors.
Reporting by ANP