CarThera raises €9m to tackle the blood-brain barrier

Illustration of the thought processes in the brain

French company CarThera has raised €9 million in its Series B funding round to help it develop ultrasound-based medical devices to treat brain disorders and overcome the challenges of the blood-brain barrier.

The funding, equivalent to $10.3 million, was raised with three institutional investors – Panakès Partners, Sham Innovation Santé (advised by Turenne Capital) and Supernova Invest via its fund Supernova 2, as well as Group Arnault and historical investors.

The proceeds will be used to further advance the company’s SonoCloud technology and develop the clinical pipeline of the company.

SonoCloud is an implantable ultrasound device that temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier in a controlled manner, in order to increase the penetration of therapeutic molecules in the brain and potentially improve the efficacy of treatments for patients with brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.

The blood-brain barrier not only limits the efficacy of traditional chemotherapies, but also of other agents like new immunotherapies.

A multi-center study has already been launched in France and in the US to evaluate the SonoCloud-9 device, a new generation of implant with nine ultrasound emitters, in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. The company also has an ongoing clinical study with the SonoCloud-1 device in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and one planned for patients with brain metastases.  

“We are delighted with the results of our Series B funding round that strengthens our cash position and opens up the possibility to pursue multiple clinical indications,” said Frederic Sottilini, chairman of the board and CEO of CarThera. “The proceeds will be used to globally expand our clinical investigations in glioblastoma and to develop our proprietary platform technology in other brain diseases with huge unmet needs.”

The impact of the blood-brain barrier is reflected in a drastic slowdown in the development of new drug therapies for the brain. Since 1998, development of nearly 75 molecules indicated for brain tumors have been abandoned in the absence of conclusive results.

Other recent investments in companies that are hoping to overcome the challenges of the blood-brain barrier include the Google Ventures-led $45.4 million funding round for UK exosome biotech Evox in September, J&J’s purchase of Yuhan’s NSCLC drug Lazertinib in November, and Roche’s $1.7 billion acquisition of cancer specialist Ignyta last year.

Following the funding round, CarThera became a public limited company (SA), with the newly created board including a representative of the founders (Delphine Gaultier de la Ferrière), the CEO, representatives of institutional investors and a historic investor (Alexis de Longevialle, CEO of BOUSCAS).