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The new eco – The Daix biothech Inventa receives 50 million euros to boost its research

It’s the kind of news that doesn’t happen every day and is a great morale booster when running a business. The European Investment Bank is granting 50 million euros to the Inventiva company in Daix near Dijon, which specializes in biopharmaceutical research. This pretty sum is intended for one of its programs in particular, lanifibranor, to treat fatty liver disease, for which there is currently no treatment. Interview with the co-founder of Inventiva, Frédéric Cren.

Frédéric Cren, co-founder of the Biotech Inventiva company in Daix © Radio France
Christophe Tourne

Is this 50 million euro boost granted by the European Investment Bank very good news for Inventiva?

This is great news for us, for our developments and for our programs. And a pride too, as a founder. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary in August. So that’s also very good. This grant is awarded for the development of a particular treatment. It is lanifibranor that will be used to treat fatty liver disease, which is also known as soda disease.

Does that mean your research is on the right track?

Yes. Over the past ten years, we have developed what we call “our pipeline”, our product portfolio. Our most advanced molecule, which is called “lanifibranor” is in phase three. This is the last clinical study before marketing. We have also set up a collaboration with a large laboratory called LabVI. And there, we have a product in psoriasis which is also progressing very, very well.

You are aiming for a possible commercialization of lanifibranor in what time frame?

The phase three registration study will be completed in a few years. Then, it will be the deposit of the file and the obtaining of the sale price. The finish line is fast approaching.

One year, two years?

It’s longer, a few years. The phase three study is huge. It’s about 1,000 patients who have to be treated for 18 months in 24 countries, in about 400 hospitals. Then afterwards, there are reports on the results, studies. You have to file a file, and it’s not a filing cabinet, it’s several truckloads of documents. Fortunately, it is in electronic form, but must be analyzed and filed with the agencies.

The Inventiva site in Daix
The Inventiva site in Daix

Inventiva employs how many people today in Daix?

We have taken over the former research center of Laboratoires Fournier and we are around a hundred people, mainly in Daix. And, since the beginning of the year, we have opened a subsidiary in the United States with a small team of about ten people.

Is Inventiva listed on the stock exchange?

Absolutely ! Since 2010 in Europe, in Paris, on Euronext and for about two years on the Nasdaq, so we have joined the small closed club of French biotech and tech companies that have managed to cross the Atlantic.

And we can say that in Dijon, it is a sector that is still quite dynamic?

Absolutely. There is a know-how and great companies, Inventiva of course, but there are others and we form a united and fairly dynamic group.

The first quarter was a bit complicated in terms of your cash flow with 15 million euros less compared to the end of 2021. Is this due to research?

Yes, in a certain sense, when we see the cash flow falling, it is a good signal, it means that we are spending money on our research. Currently, we are not developing a turnover and it is completely normal for a biotech to raise money, therefore to fill the fund, for example with the agreement of the EIB and on the other side , to spend money to advance our programs.

The Inventiva logo
The Inventiva logo

High hopes for lanifibranor fallout

Fatty Liver Disease or Soda Sickness is a very prevalent disease. There are huge numbers of patients and no treatments currently on the market, so huge potential. “We think that if the product achieves its objectives in the current study, we will find a partner who can market it. And there, it will completely change the financial profile of the company because we will generate a substantial turnover.” explains Frédéric Cren.

Fatty liver disease is a very serious disease, which leads to cirrhosis. It is therefore only doctors and hepatologists who will be able to prescribe this drug. There is a very strong potential, because it is estimated that there are approximately 7 to 10% of the population in the United States who are “at risk” of developing this pathology and probably the same proportion in Europe.

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