Amsterdam-based Leyden Laboratories, a company that aims to protect against a broad range of viruses, has raised €40M in its Series A round of funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from F-Prime Capital, Casdin Capital, LLC and Brook Byers.
Use of the funds
The raised capital will help the company to advance the platform and portfolio of intranasal products that protect against a broad range of respiratory viruses, including influenza and coronaviruses. The funding will also be used to expand its headcounts.
With this investment, David Schenkein, M.D., general partner at GV, and Stephen Knight, M.D., president, and managing partner at F-Prime, will join the board of directors.
Freeing humanity from the burden of respiratory viruses
The recent Covid-19 pandemic caught everyone by surprise as people from around the world are still suffering and losing the ability to live their lives to the fullest. Scientists are still actively looking for ways to control and contain viruses, however, they are insufficient, especially as viruses evolve into new variants.
In the same way, the possibility of future outbreaks remains high given the numerous types of viruses that may be hidden in nature. And, as it is impossible to know which virus might start spreading when or where, it’s imperative that the world be ready for it.
This is where Leyden Labs strives to make an impact. The company utilises its platform to target commonalities of viral families to protect against many viruses simultaneously as opposed to vaccines that typically protect against a specific virus variant.
According to the company, its intranasal product candidates (e.g. nasal sprays) will be self-administrable, providing people with the freedom to protect themselves instantaneously from infection and prevent transmission.
Koenraad Wiedhaup, one of the founders and CEO of Leyden Labs, says, “The speed of development of vaccines during the current pandemic has been impressive, but major global health and economic challenges are evident. If we can develop products that provide immediate protection against existing, mutating, and new viruses, we can prevent future pandemics, fight existing ones, and help people strive for a fantastic life. We pursue this critical and ambitious mission with a great team of seasoned and curious biotech leaders and scientists.”
A brief about the founders
Koenraad Wiedhaup formed the company last year during the first pandemic lockdown. The other founders of Leyden Labs are the chief scientific officer Jaap Goudsmit and biotech entrepreneurs Ronald Brus, and Dinko Valerio (executive chair).
They formed the previous Crucell team that created the AdVac and PER.C6 platforms. Crucell and the platforms were acquired by Johnson & Johnson and are now at the basis of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
The founding team is joined by a closely involved board of biotechnology leaders including John C. Martin, Onno van de Stolpe, James Shannon, and Richard J. Whitley.
Dr. David Schenkein, general partner at GV says, “The Leyden Labs’ leadership team includes world-renowned virologists and industry veterans who bring substantial relevant experience to establish and advance a powerful portfolio of intranasal products. The company is well-positioned to leverage its platform to free people from the burden of respiratory viral pandemics and I look forward to working together to achieve this goal.”