FRANCE – SeaBeLife, a biotech company developing drug candidates to prevent cell necrosis, announced that it has received €1.37 million (US$1.49 million) in funding from Bpifrance as part of the French government’s deeptech plan initiative.

This funding, made possible by the French government’s ‘Deeptech Plan,’ will help fund research into first-in-class drug candidates for the treatment of acute liver, kidney, heart, and brain disease.

These funds will allow SeaBeLife to develop drug candidates that have the unique ability to inhibit necroptosis and ferroptosis at the same time, two modes of regulated cell death that are activated in people with certain pathologies.

The goal is to protect or regenerate organs affected by severe pathologies that currently have no effective treatments. SeaBeLife is the only company focused on inhibiting these two types of regulated cell death.

The financing will be provided in two installments through the French government’s ‘Future Investments Program:’ €959,000 (US$1.04 million) in the form of a repayable advance and €411,000 (US$447,000) in subsidies.

Founded in March 2019 and based in Brittany, France, SeaBeLife currently employs six people and has raised €3.9 million (US$4.3 million) in private equity and grants since its creation.

Morgane Rousselot, CEO and co-founder of SeaBeLife said: “We are thrilled to have received this strategic financing from Bpifrance, which will provide us with a real springboard to continue developing.

It is also wonderful to see the potential of our unique pipeline, which targets two regulated cell death pathways, being recognized in this way.

This year, we will also be continuing our series A funding round, which will allow us to progress our preclinical trials and prepare for the clinical launch of our flagship molecules for the treatment of acute liver and kidney disease.”

Bpifrance’s deep tech financing is intended to fund the research and development phases of innovative, game-changing projects prior to their industrial and commercial launch.

The Deeptech Plan, which was launched in 2019, consists of €2.5 billion (US$2.72 billion) in funds spread over five years, with the goal of funding the creation of 500 start-ups each year.

Novel technology targeting regulated cell death pathways

With four patents already filed, SeaBeLife has developed over 45 biologically active molecules that have the unique characteristic of inhibiting two forms of regulated and programmed cell death – necroptosis and ferroptosis – in pathological conditions.

While the SeaBeLife is currently focusing on liver and kidney pathologies, a side branch of this research sees potential applications in other fields, including ocular and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Macular Degeneration, for which there are currently no cures.

The heart of the issue that SeaBeLife is tackling is the process by which when a cell is ready to die, it can do so in a variety of ways, one of which is necroptosis.

This type of cellular death does not simply fade away into the background; instead, it becomes inflamed, which can be harmful to the cells around it.

Another damaging process in the neighborhood, ferroptosis, involves iron accumulation and lipid peroxidation, a process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in surrounding cell membranes, resulting in cell damage.

SeaBeLife molecules have a unique property that makes them particularly effective: they combat ferroptosis and necroptosis.

It was recently demonstrated that this dual action is critical for inhibiting regulated necrosis in the treatment of certain pathologies.

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