Barcelona, Spain, November 23, 2021 – Caixa Capital Risc, the venture capital subsidiary of CriteriaCaixa, today announces the sale of its portfolio company Sanifit Therapeutics to Vifor Pharma, a global pharmaceutical company that aims to become an industry leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vifor Pharma will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares in Sanifit; receiving full global rights for its lead compound, SNF472. Shareholders of Sanifit will receive an upfront payment of €205M ($231M), clinical, regulatory and market access milestones for up to €170M ($192M) and tiered sales-based milestones that could reach mid to high triple-digit million euros at peak sales, which makes it, to date, the largest operation of its kind in the Spanish biotechnology sector.
A spin-off of the University of the Balearic Islands, Sanifit is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for vascular calcification disorders. It develops SNF472, a novel, first-in-class inhibitor of vascular calcification, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of Calcific Uremic Arteriolopathy (CUA) and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) in patients with end-stage kidney disease. Since its creation in 2004, Sanifit has raised a total of €115M ($129.7M). Caixa Capital Risc, which is the only investor that has participated in all the financing rounds, led the most recent of these in 2019, for a total of €55.2M ($62.2M).
Since becoming an investor in 2006, Caixa Capital Risc has invested more than €23M ($25.9M) in Sanifit. It is the only non-founding investor to have remained directly involved thoughout the complete development cycle of the company. Caixa Capital Risc is fully involved and actively advises the management team.
“This major, successful operation is the perfect example of what we want to achieve at Caixa Capital Risc. We stand by our portfolio companies from the beginning until they reach their full value and help fulfill major unmet medical needs,” said Pablo Cironi, director of life sciences investments at Caixa Capital Risc and board member at Sanifit.
“We are extremely thankful for the tireless support from Caixa Capital Risc, which has been critical for the success of this project. Over 15 years, we shared the vision of bringing our therapy for vascular calcification to patients suffering from these devastating diseases, and we are thrilled that we will be joining forces with Vifor Pharma, one of the key players in the cardio-renal arena, to complete the last stages of development and bring SNF472 to patients,” said Joan Perelló, CEO at Sanifit.
Within the biotechnology sector, Caixa Capital Risc is one of the main venture capital investors in Spain with more than fifteen years of experience. In 2021, the team reviewed more than 250 new opportunities in Europe. With the recently launched Criteria Bio Ventures fund, Caixa Capital Risc will continue to invest in Spanish and international startups that develop disruptive therapeutic approaches addressing clear unmet medical needs. The fund focuses on oncology, neurology, orphan diseases, autoimmune and metabolic disorders, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.
Since 2018, the fund has been actively working on renewing its portfolio. During this time, it has divested some of its most mature assets, including the sale of STAT Diagnostica to Qiagen and of Northern Biologics to Boehringer Ingelheim and AstraZeneca.
Closing of the transaction with Vifor Pharma is contingent on customary closing conditions, including the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) procedure in Spain and merger filings in certain other countries. It is expected to take place in Q1, 2022.
About Calcific Uremic Arteriolopathy (CUA)
Calcific Uremic Arteriolopathy, also known as Calciphylaxis (CUA), is a rare but potentially devastating condition most often observed in patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), although it does occasionally develop in patients without renal failure. Calciphylaxis is a severe form of CardioVascular Calcification (CVC), in which the calcium deposits block small blood vessels in skin and fat tissue. These blockages cause the development of intensely painful and debilitating chronic skin lesions. Calciphylaxis affects 1-4% of dialysis patients and has a one-year mortality rate of 55%.
About Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) in End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) affects patients who depend on ongoing renal replacement therapy – most commonly hemodialysis. PAD causes patients to reduce their mobility and experience pain in lower extremities, and can lead to chronic limb threatening ischemia and amputation. PAD is a marker for vascular calcification – a major contributing cause of death among patients in dialysis.
Sanifit is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for vascular calcification disorders. The company is a spin-off from the University of the Balearic Islands and has offices in Spain and the US. Sanifit’s lead asset, SNF472, successfully completed a Phase 2 proof of concept study in calciphylaxis and showed a significant reduction in progression of coronary calcification in a Phase 2b study in hemodialysis patients. A Phase 3 pivotal study in calciphylaxis is currently underway and the company is also pursuing Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) in patients with end-stage kidney disease as a second indication for SNF472. In 2015 and 2019, Sanifit announced the largest private biotech fundraisings in Spain and has been supported by a variety of healthcare-focused investors including: Caixa Capital Risc, Ysios Capital, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Forbion Capital Partners, Gilde Healthcare, Andera Partners, Columbus Venture Partners, Alta Life Sciences, Baxter Ventures, HealthEquity and INNVIERTE ECONOMÍA SOSTENIBLE, a venture capital fund managed by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) of the Spanish Government. Sanifit is headquartered in Palma, Spain.
About Vifor Pharma Group
Vifor Pharma Group is a global pharmaceuticals company. It aims to become the global leader in iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. The company is a partner of choice for pharmaceuticals and innovative patient-focused solutions. Vifor Pharma Group strives to help patients around the world with severe and chronic diseases lead better, healthier lives. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for precision patient care. Vifor Pharma Group holds a leading position in all its core business activities and consists of the following companies: Vifor Pharma and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (a joint company with Fresenius Medical Care). Vifor Pharma Group is headquartered in Switzerland, and listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX Swiss Exchange, VIFN, ISIN: CH0364749348).
About Caixa Capital Risc
Caixa Capital Risc, CriteriaCaixa’s venture capital manager, is one of the main venture capital investors in Spain, with more than fifteen years experience. It has already invested in more than 100 innovative companies with high growth potential and operates in the life sciences, digital technology and industrial technology sectors.
Caixa Capital Risc invests in early financing rounds and helps companies grow. The management company’s team of professionals focuses on identifying, analyzing, investing in and supporting innovative companies in Spain and in Europe.
Caixa Capital Risc is part of CriteriaCaixa, the holding company that works to preserve and grow the assets generated by the Fundación ‘la Caixa’ over more than a century, with the priority of providing the financial resources that allow its actions to continue and to contribute to the development of society.