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ZAKA VC expands its global biotechnology portfolio and invests in ExcepGen in cooperation with RA Capital Management, Gravity Fund and Apollo Projects

ZAKA deepens its activities in major biotech startups. A newly co-invested ExcepGen, a genetic medicine startup raised 4 million USD in the latest round and the total seed funding is 14 million USD. The most recent round was led by RA Capital Management and backed by Gravity Fund, Apollo Projects (Sam Altman), and ZAKA VC among other premier investors.

For one of the most active investors in the CEE region during Q2 2023 1 ZAKA VC with 40 active investments in 23 countries, ExcepGen is a very significant addition to the biotechnology part of the portfolio. During Q4 2022 ZAKA VC invested into Sensible Biotechnologies, which aims to engineer cells to make better mRNA.

ExcepGen is an early-stage biotechnology company at the forefront of the nucleic acid therapeutics revolution. Leveraging its proprietary platform, the company aims to expand the boundaries for RNA and DNA-based therapies and open the door to entirely new classes of genetic medicines. ExcepGen was co-founded by Barbara Mertins and Thomas Folliard.

“The biotechnology sector is extremely interesting for us. We are gradually expanding our portfolio with other companies in this industry and, like other large investors from Silicon Valley, we see great potential in technologies that positively affect the development and production of vaccines and therapeutics. This potential is also confirmed by ExcepGen which, thanks to its unique technology and strong team, secured its first clients among the big pharma players.”

Jan Kasper, Managing Partner and co-founder of ZAKA VC

With a strong M&A environment for exits, venture capitalists continue to fuel biotech industry growth. According to PitchBook’s Q2 2022 Venture Monitor Report, VC deal activity saw $17.8 billion of capital invested through the end of Q2, H1 valuations reached a record high of $114.6 billion, and the average deal size grew by more than 25% YoY.

Biotech companies that venture capital funds are interested in today are building platforms – or infrastructure – for technologies to improve drug discovery, help better diagnose diseases or design new foods.

Background on ExcepGen:

ExcepGen has been quietly advancing its groundbreaking technology to make nucleic acid therapeutics much more powerful. It works by encoding a specialized “shield” protein alongside the main nucleic acid cargo, which improves how cells react to the foreign DNA or RNA and prevents negative cell signaling. By this mechanism, ExcepGen’s technology could massively expand the reach of both DNA-based and RNA-based genetic medicines by enhancing their effectiveness and tolerability.

“Our mission at ExcepGen is to unlock nucleic acid medicines. This funding validates our aim to make RNA and DNA-based drugs a cornerstone of therapeutics. We are excited to use this new funding to prove out the value of our technology in different therapeutic spaces.”

Thomas Folliard, CEO and co-founder at ExcepGen. “

“We couldn’t be more excited about supporting the ExcepGen team. Engineering cellular response to mRNA vaccines and therapeutics represents a significant leap forward in the development of mRNA technology and, we believe, ultimately allows mRNA technology to reach its full potential. It’s easy to get excited about ExcepGen from a technology and investment standpoint, but we’re most excited about what this technology potentially means in terms of patient outcomes.” said Seth DeGroot, a partner at Gravity Fund.

The newly secured funding will play a pivotal role in accelerating ExcepGen’s research and development efforts, as well as advancing its collaborations with other companies.