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'Neurological Disease New Drug Research' Celltium Inc. Secures First VC Investment of 5.5 Billion Won

Participated by 'Daekyo Investment, Korea Venture Investment, SL Investment', momentum in the non-clinical development of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease treatment By Reporter Park Dong-woo


December 15, 2021, 08:14:04 ​


Celltium, a company researching new drugs for neurological diseases, has secured venture capital investment for the first time since its establishment. Daekyo Investment, Korea Venture Investment, SL Investment, and others participated in a club deal and contributed 5.5 billion won. The injection of funds is expected to boost the non-clinical development of a treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. ​


According to the venture capital industry, the biotech startup Celltium secured its first external investment on the 9th. The company issued convertible preferred shares (CPS) worth 5.5 billion won, which were acquired by venture capital operators. Daekyo Investment, Korea Venture Investment, SL Investment, Korea University Technology Holdings, Jeonbuk Regional University Consortium Technology Holdings, Shinhan Capital, etc., participated as financial investors (FIs). ​


Daekyo Investment contributed 1.5 billion won using the 'DKI Growing Star 5th Investment Association'. Director Kim Beom-jun of Daekyo Investment, who participated as a mentor in the 'Preliminary Startup Package Project jointly hosted by the Small and Medium Business Administration and the Korea Venture Business Association, with the support of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology. He was encouraged to initiate the club deal with Celltium.


Daekyo Investment made a matching investment of 1.5 billion won through the 'DKI Growing Star 5th Investment Association'. The 'High-tech Technology Development Commercialization Fund' of Korea Venture Investment also injected 1.5 billion won. It's a vehicle that matches the same amount of money as the venture capital funds to selected companies. The condition was set that the funds must be used only in the R&D area.


SL Investment contributed 1 billion won from the 'SLI Next Innovation Fund'. The 'Future ESV Personal Investment Association No. 1', jointly operated by Korea University Technology Holdings and Jeonbuk Regional University Consortium Technology Holdings, also executed 1 billion won. Shinhan Capital supported 500 million won from its main account funds.


Since then, Celltium has focused on developing treatments targeting Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and peripheral nerve disorders. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a rare genetic disorder characterized by muscle atrophy, changing the shape of hands and feet, and weakness. Peripheral nerve disorders are caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system and can present a variety of symptoms such as sensory abnormalities, tingling in hands and feet, and balance disorders.


Celltium has established a competitive edge by cultivating peripheral nerve tissue (organoids) and discovering drug candidates based on a high-throughput screening (HTS) platform. To date, they have conducted thousands of drug tests targeting Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. They have set a mid-to-long-term goal of verifying efficacy and toxicity without experimentation by building a database of hundreds of thousands of drugs for various neurological disorders.


Kim Beom-jun, Director of Daekyo Investment who reviewed the deal, stated, "The HTS platform technology, which can verify the efficacy of thousands of substances at once, will contribute to enhancing the development speed and efficiency of new drugs for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Due to the minimal human and time burden in exploring a large drug library, there's a clear possibility of expanding the pipeline to peripheral neuropathy in cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis."


Empowered by the funding, Celltium accelerates the non-clinical testing of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease drug candidates. They are preparing for in vitro experiments by establishing facilities for researching experimental animals and considering the development of gene therapies using adeno-associated virus as a peripheral nerve delivery vehicle.


Kim Sungsu, CEO of Celltium, stated, "We have established a roadmap to enter Phase 2 clinical trials for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease drug candidates by 2025. The financial support from the venture capital industry has added momentum to achieving our milestones."

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