SalvaRx to invest in Rift Biotherapeutics

This article was originally published here

Published 21 March 2017

SalvaRx, a subsidiary of SalvaRx Group, has agreed to invest in Delaware-based biotechnology company Rift Biotherapeutics which focuses on the development of antibodies for use in oncology.

Under the terms of the agreement, SalvaRx will invest US$1,000,000 for an initial holding of approximately 30% (including new shares issued on the conversion of a US$90,000 convertible loan already provided to Rift). 

Subject to Rift achieving certain development milestones with this initial funding, SalvaRx has the option to invest up to an additional US$1,500,000 at the same valuation and to acquire all outstanding shares of Rift in exchange for new shares in SalvaRx on the same basis.  The initial investment has been funded from existing cash resources.

Rift, an early stage research and development company, was founded in 2015 in order to discover and develop first-in-class antibodies implicated in the inflammatory tumour and tumour infiltrating immune cells microenvironment. 

Rift has a small lab space in San Diego, California and has minimal net assets. Rift recently won the Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation prize, entitling it to additional lab space at BioLabs San Diego, a Southern California based incubator for biotech start-ups.

SalvaRx CEO Ian Walters said: “We are excited to announce our investment into Rift which is our fourth portfolio company.  Founders Drs. Miguel de los Rios, Cory Bentley and their team have strong protein engineering capabilities and have discovered several candidate antibodies to novel immune check point targets. 

“Our collaboration with Rift will provide them with financing to finish preclinical development and will augment their team with SalvaRx’s clinical development expertise.”

Rift founder and CEO Dr. Miguel de los Rios said: “Our novel non T-cell based immunotherapy targets offer complementary approaches to the current standard of care in immuno-oncology. 

“We are researching the anti-tumour activity of our immunotherapy and potential utility with standard of care agents such as Opdivo, Keytruda, or Tecentriq.  We are excited to work with SalvaRx to help understand and realise the potential of these antibodies.”

Dr. de los Rios will be joined on Rift’s board of directors by Drs. Ian Walters and Briggs Morrison. Briggs W. Morrison, M.D. is the CEO of Syndax and a managing director of MPM Capital, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm. 

Previously, Dr. Morrison served as Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, as Head, Medical Affairs, Safety and Regulatory Affairs for Pfizer’s human health business, and also as Vice President, Clinical Sciences, Oncology, at Merck, responsible for clinical development of all novel anti-cancer drugs. 

Dr. Morrison received a B.S. in biology from Georgetown University and an M.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Source: Company Press Release

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