timberland jumper announces partnership with Sanofi to develop insulin therapies
Thermalin Inc. of Cleveland said it has raised $17.5 million in Series A financing and has formed a partnership with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which led the funding round, to develop insulin therapies for people with diabetes.
The funding round includes participation from Tokyo fund JSR mblVC LifeScience Investment Limited Partnership; Green Park Golf Ventures of Dallas; Thermalin’s existing investors; and other undisclosed investors, Thermalin said in a news release issued on Thursday, Sept. 28.
CEO Richard Berenson said in a phone interview that the company has 17 people in research and development in Cleveland, and plans to raise that total to 25 “as quickly as we can.” The nature of the company’s work means it has a “high standard” for hiring, Berenson said, but he’s confident Thermalin will be able to attract the researchers it needs.
Thermalin says it’s developing insulin therapies for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Its preclinical programs include ultra rapid acting insulin, insulins that never need refrigeration, glucose responsive insulin, and a once a week insulin patch. The company’s new molecular designs are the creation of Dr. Michael Weiss at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and are licensed exclusively to Thermalin.
Thermalin’s R team is based at the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center in Cleveland. It has a business office in Waban, Mass.
The collaboration with Sanofi is designed to “discover and develop novel, engineered insulin analogues,” according to the release. The Cleveland company said the collaboration builds on Thermalin’s existing technology, “which alters the insulin molecule to achieve greater therapeutic performance.”
Berenson said in a statement that the company’s candidate therapies “have the potential to lower the burden of insulin therapy and thereby improve adherence and outcomes.”
The funding and collaboration with Sanofi “will accelerate and broaden Thermalin’s discovery capabilities and will support a shared commitment to bringing much needed therapies to diabetes patients,” the company said in the release.
Philip Larsen, global head of diabetes research and translational medicine at Sanofi, added, “We believe that Thermalin’s expertise and capabilities will significantly augment our own deep experience in insulin and enable Sanofi to remain a leader in bringing innovative and beneficial insulin therapies to patients.”
Thermalin said it estimates the collaboration “could generate . up to $788 million in equity investments, milestone payments and research and development services, of which $9 million has already been received as an upfront licensing fee and an initial equity investment.”
Sanofi will assume the clinical development costs of the insulin programs and pay royalties on commercial sales of products, Thermalin said in the release.