SMS Group, KfW and HTGF have backed a $19.5m series C for Omeicos Therapeutics to enable the Helmholtz spinout to advance its treatment for atrial fibrillation into a phase 2 trial.

Omeicos Therapeutics, a Germany-based biopharmaceutical spinout of Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC), has closed a €17m ($19.5m) series C round led by venture capital firm Forbion.

Plant construction and engineering services provider SMS Group participated in the round, as did German state-owned development bank KfW and public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF).

Vesalius Biocapital Partners and Remiges BioPharma Fund, managed by venture capital firm Remiges Ventures, also took part alongside Berlin state-backed VC Fonds Technologie Berlin and Falck Revocable Trust.

Omeicos Therapeutics is working on oral therapies for inflammatory, cardiovascular and other diseases. Its treatments rely on a synthetic analogue of omega-3 fatty acid-derived epoxyeicosanoids – a substance released from cells to promote tissue regeneration.

Initial results have shown the synthetic version to be more efficient than its natural counterpart. The approach is based on work by Wolf-Hagen Schunck, John. Falck, Dominik Müller and Robert Fischer at MDC, a research institute of the Helmholtz Association.

Omeicos will use the series C funding to advance its lead candidate, OMT-28, into a phase 2 trial. OMT-28 is aimed at persistent atrial fibrillation, a condition characterised by an irregular and often abnormally fast heartbeat.

The spinout will also use the cash to further expand its pipeline targeting other diseases, focusing on eye conditions through its US subsidiary, Omeicos Ophthalmics, launched in August 2017.

Omeicos previously closed a series B round in October 2017, following an extension of undisclosed size provided by Remiges Ventures. The company had secured an initial tranche of $8.7m in March 2017 co-led by SMS Group and Vesalius.

The first close also featured Ascension, the tech transfer office of Helmholtz, as well as KfW, HTGF, VC Fonds Technologie Berlin, Falck Revocable Trust and members of Omeicos’ management team.

Vesalius had already led a $6.6m series A round in 2015 that featured SMS Group, HTGF, KfW and VC Fonds Technology Berlin. HTGF had provided an undisclosed amount of seed capital in 2012.