Desentum, a Finnish biopharmaceutical company with its birch pollen allergy vaccine candidate DM-101PX currently being tested in a clinical study in Canada, raised 12 M€ in a funding round arranged by an investment service company Springvest Oyj. Desentum intends to use a majority of the proceeds to continue clinical development of the birch pollen allergy vaccine and to complete preclinical testing of a peanut allergy vaccine.
Desentum develops novel immunotherapeutic hypoallergens, so called allergy vaccines. The hypoallergens are biotechnologically produced, modified allergen proteins aimed for improving the efficiency of allergen immunotherapy while also reducing the time required for treatment. The lead product candidate, birch pollen hypoallergen DM-101PX is currently being evaluated in a clinical study in Canada.
”In the study, we are evaluating the safety and tolerability of 10 weekly doses of DM-101PX in birch pollen allergic adults and assessing the effect of treatment on allergic symptoms by using a controlled birch pollen exposure”, explains Pekka Mattila, CEO of Desentum. “Even though the study is still ongoing, we have already seen very promising preliminary results in terms of both safety and reduction of allergic symptoms. We are looking forward to completing the study and analysing the final results.”
The company has other immunotherapeutic vaccine candidates in preclinical development as well, the most important ones being hypoallergens targeted for treatment of peanut and grass pollen allergies.
In January 2024, Desentum initiated a funding round carried out by a Finnish investment service company Springvest Oyj. The public offering was fully subscribed in a few weeks, producing 12 million euros of new capital.
Mattila is happy with the collaboration with Springvest:”We have executed several funding rounds with Springvest. Their operating model is efficient and saves our time. It would not be possible for us to approach such a large number of investors on our own. Over the years, Springvest has developed into a full investment service company that can also attract larger investors.”
Desentum plans on using the majority of the proceeds for taking the birch pollen allergy vaccine through the next clinical study in which the optimal dosing in terms of safety and efficacy and the duration of protection can be assessed. The funds will also be used for bringing the next allergy vaccine candidate to clinical readiness.
”The same approach we have used for developing the birch pollen allergy vaccine can also be used for designing and producing immunotherapeutic vaccines to treat other allergies. After birch pollen allergy, our next target is peanut allergy. It is one of the most common food allergies and can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. There is a great need for a safe and effective treatment for peanut allergy”, says Mattila.
DM-101PX is an investigational medicinal product intended for immunotherapeutic treatment of birch pollen allergy. The active ingredient in DM-101PX is DM-101, a recombinant birch pollen allergen modified to reduce its allergenicity while retaining the desired immunological properties. DM-101PX has a novel formulation optimised to support the controlled release of the active ingredient after subcutaneous injection. With DM-101PX, Desentum aims to significantly reduce the number of injections required for allergen immunotherapy of birch pollen allergy while ensuring efficacy.
Desentum Oy is a biopharmaceutical company based in Espoo, Finland. It is specialized in developing a novel type of allergen immunotherapy based on switching the immune system’s response to allergens from hypersensitivity to tolerance by utilizing modified hypoallergens. Desentum, founded in 2011, is a spin-off company from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. With its product development, Desentum targets both pollen and food allergies.
Contact:Pekka Mattila, CEO