CalTIC secures seed financing to develop a new class of drugs

Newly founded spin-off brings hope for patients suffering from metabolic diseases, obesity, and heart hypertrophy

September 28, 2022

The KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (KHAN-I) has committed up to EUR 3 million in milestone dependent payments to CalTIC, a Dortmund based start-up, for the discovery of a new class of drugs.

The start-up builds on a long-term collaboration between the Lead Discovery Center, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and the University of Leeds which resulted in the validation of transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channel inhibition as a promising new approach for the treatment of widespread conditions including metabolic diseases, obesity, and heart hypertrophy. Using the proceeds, the founding partners will continue their collaboration to advance their results to preclinical stage. CalTIC’s stakeholders are University of Leeds, the Lead Discovery Center, the Max Planck Society, and Marc Freichel, at the Institute of Pharmacology at Heidelberg University, and KHAN-I.

“The inhibition of TRPC channels presents an entirely new approach to treating metabolic and heart disease,” says Bert Klebl, CEO & CSO of LDC. “It holds significant potential for patients, and we are very much looking forward to continuing our collaboration with this group of excellent scientists and clinicians to translate it into practice.”

CalTIC’s TRPC inhibitors block binding sites that were originally discovered by David J. Beech (University of Leeds) and Herbert Waldmann (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology) as targets of Englerin A. Results from various in vivo models support both the potency and safety of the approach of the newly developed TRPC channel inhibitors in metabolic and heart disease.

“We are delighted that KHAN has placed great confidence in CalTIC,” says Klaus Dinkel, CEO of CalTIC, “With KHAN’s investment and our partners’ continued commitment, we are perfectly positioned to exploit the exciting project.”  

“For drugs that inhibit receptors, we refer to receptor subtypes, beta-adrenoceptor blocking drugs and so on. But for calcium channels, we refer to calcium-channel blockers as if there is only one type of calcium channel, yet we now know this isn’t the case - there are many. Our CalTIC therapeutic innovation partnership will target some of these new calcium channels. It’s a hugely exciting moment to see the potential for new medicines after years of effort getting to this point,” states David Beech, UoL School of Medicine.

As its central technology transfer organization, Max Planck Innovation has supported the Max Planck Society, among other things, in structuring it’s equity participation in the new start-up company. "With the help of CalTIC GmbH and the many years of successful cooperation with the Lead Discovery Center, another promising technology is being promoted, that brings new hope to patients with a wide range of indications," says Ulrich Mahr, member general management at Max Planck Innovation.

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