SantoSolve Raises $5.5 Million

SantoSolve AS, a Norwegian developer of pain therapeutics, has raised $5.5 million in VC funding. Backers include Teknoinvest, InnovationsKapital and Investinor.

Norwegian pharmaceutical/biotech company SantoSolve AS has raised USD 5.5 million in a private placement with Scandinavian VCs Teknoinvest, InnovationsKapital and Investinor.

SantoSolve is a privately held Norwegian pharmaceutical/biotech company, founded in 2002 and located in Oslo.

The company develops targeted pain therapeutics, based on a novel class of active ingredients. The company’s technology is covered by a broad range of patent applications, providing strong IPR protection. SantoSolve developes topical analgesic products based on non-radioactive strontium as the active substance.

Product Development
2PX, the company’s lead product, is a pharmaceutical formulation for topical administration (applied directly on skin). By combining the active ingredient with selected dermal penetration enhancers, local administration of the product results in targeted delivery of the active product to subdermal sites of inflammation and pain.

Phase I safety and pharmacology studies showed/proved that the active agent to has low systemic bioavailability. Only few and minor adverse effects have been observed at the site of administration, and this favorable safety profile has been confirmed also in the Phase II studies performed.

Phase II efficacy documentation has been focused on the analgesic effect of 2PX. The product has in open label Phase II clinical trials shown strong analgesic effect in both nociceptive and neuropatic pain conditions, In follow up, placebo controlled trials, the analgesic effect of the product has been further investigated.

In the company’s most advanced pain indication (osteoarthritis), the company has recently completed the Phase II program. This trial was designed as a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial (4 + 4 weeks, n=71). The trial demonstrated that 2PX has a statistically significant (p=0.0318) pain relieving effect compared to placebo.

A double-blind, placebo controlled Phase II trial in patients with chronic, hard-to-treat stump pain has been completed, indicating strong analgesic effect of 2PX in patients with hard-to-treat chronic pain following major-limb amputation.

The company has now advanced 2PX into phase III trials – either ongoing or in advanced stages of planning – in both OA and post-amputation pain.

CEO in the company is Thorfinn Ege. Dr. Ege has since 1997 worked with a number of start ups, focusing on commercialization of academic innovations. Prior to 1997, Dr Ege worked in Business Development and R&D Management functions in the international pharmaceutical industry, as well as in basic academic research within life sciences. He holds a PhD in biochemistry from Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).

CFO in SantoSolve, Mr Torgeir Vaage, has extensive experience from the financial industry in Norway. Prior to joining SantoSolve he worked as a financial analyst with several Scandinavian investment banks, including ABG Sundal Collier, Handelsbanken Markets and Norden Equity. He holds a MSc from Norges Handelshøyskole (Norway) and a PhD from UC Berkeley.

The Investors
Investinor will take 49 % of the latest investment round in SantoSolve, together with the two major shareholders in the company; Teknoinvest, and Innovationskapital.

Investinor AS invests in Norwegian based companies, has USD 396 million under management and focus on the energy, cleantech, maritime, marine and travel sectors. Investinor is fully owned by Innovation Norway, which is owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Norway based Teknoinvest invests in emerging technologies within the ITC and Life Sciences sectors in Scandinavia. Teknoinvest was founded in 1984 and has since then become one of the most successful VC´s in Scandinavia, according to it’s track record of value created for it’s investors. Teknoinvest has an extensive network throughout Scandinavia and the US.

Sweden based InnovationsKapital is a leading independent early stage VC firm for innovative growth companies in the Nordic region. Since 1994, the company has made over 60 investments in the life sciences and technology sectors.