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Carao Ventures Leads US$2m Follow-on Investment in Costa Rican Biotech Startup Speratum

16 January 2019

Carao Ventures led a US$2m follow-on investment in Speratum, a Costa Rican biotech focused on microRNA-directed oncology therapies primarily for pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Carao previously invested US$800k when Speratum was founded in 2014.

(Press Release) Carao Ventures leads a second investment round for $2m in Speratum, a distinguished startup in the regional biotech scene due to its R&D efforts towards attaining a treatment for cancer. Carao Ventures and its investors have committed US$1.4m in the new round of funding with the intent of co-investing with new investors with interest and subject-matter experience. Speratum expects to complete and close this round in the next 3 months.

The company intends to use the proceeds of this round to continue advancing the pre-clinical experiments, specifically focusing on optimizing the proprietary treatment formulation and completing the first toxicology studies, bringing it closer to clinical trials which are expected to be conducted in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Speratum raised a seed round of funding for US$800k in 2014 from Carao Ventures, a leading venture capital firm in Central America. In addition to the funds obtained from the first round, the company has also secured several grants and prize-awards from local institutions and international organizations, both public and private, allowing it to further its research through the initial stages of pre-clinical trials.

Speratum’s team is working on a patented treatment against pancreatic and other types of aggressive cancers. The company has developed a platform technology that allows to create molecularly precise therapies combining molecules that have strong anti-cancer properties with a nanoparticle delivery technology to guide and transport the molecules through the human body with great precision. According to the results from multiple scientific experiments performed to date, this combination results in a therapy capable of preventing tumor growth in a safe and very effective manner, that has not demonstrated relevant secondary effects.

Speratum was founded in 2014 by Christian Marín-Müller, PhD., leveraging on 7 years of prior research conducted by Dr. Marín-Müller and two colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Marín-Müller holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Molecular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology Enterprises Management from Case Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Virology from Baylor College of Medicine.

For Carao Ventures, leading this second round of funding represents a continuation of its strong commitment and alignment with Speratum’s mission and a confirmation of the relevant progress attained by the company over the last four years. Furthermore, it is an additional step in the direction of the firm’s strategy of supporting the development of Costa Rica as a regional R&D hub for the Life Sciences sector. In addition to investing in early-stage startups, Carao Ventures offers to its investees multiple value-added resources and professional support through strategic, financial, and operational advisory. Carao Ventures helps startups accelerate their business development and connects portfolio companies with their first significant market opportunities.