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Nanoparticle drug delivery platform ViaNautis lands £20m

Vianautis Series A
Vianautis CEO, Dr Fran Crawford

University College London spinout ViaNautis has raised £20m in Series A funding to use nano-engineering technology to deliver treatments to hard-to-reach areas of the body.

Previously known as SomaServe, ViaNautis has created a method to deliver molecule-sized treatments to areas such as brain cells and the lungs.

ViaNautis says its platform – called ‘polyNaut’ – can “precisely guide genetic molecules such as pDNA, mRNA, siRNA and ASOs to their intended targets”.

Now headquartered in Cambridge, ViaNautis says it is collaborating with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to create a pipeline of therapeutic treatments.

Francesca Crawford, CEO of ViaNautis, said: “This successful fundraise empowers us to expedite the deployment of our proprietary polyNaut technology, which offers unparalleled access to the brain and other tissues, presenting significant opportunities to address both CNS and lung diseases.”

Previously called SomaServe, the Vianautis Series A was led by BGF, UCB Ventures and 4BIO Capital. The round also attracted capital from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company, Origin Capital, Meltwind and O2H, among others.

The biotech startup will use the Series A to set up labs, increase hiring and build out its drug delivery platform.

“ViaNautis’s polyNaut technology represents a unique opportunity in the field of genetic therapies,” said Lucy Edwardes Jones, investor at BGF.

“This breakthrough creates a path for the development of innovative treatments for diseases that have remained unaddressed for too long.”

Vianautis was founded in 2018 by Crawford, Dr Denis Cecchin and Professor Giuseppe Battaglia.

Another drug-related spinout is ImmuONE, which scooped £2m for its 3D human lung last month.