Illustration: Shutterstock
Illustration: Shutterstock

Kamari Pharma Raises $8 Million from the Sino-Israeli GIBF2 Fund

Kamari, Founded by Pontifax and Arkin Bioholdings, is a clinical stage company developing proprietary drugs for complex dermatological diseases

Kamari Pharma announced the completion of an $8 million investment by the Chinese fund GIBF2, managed by Dr. Shuki Gleitman, Prof. Shlomo Noy, Mr. Avner Lush and Mr. Carl Geng.

Kamari was established at the end of 2018 by the Israeli based biotechnology funds Pontifax and Arkin Bioholdings. Up to the current investment, $16 million were invested in Kamari. The company develops topical and oral drugs based on proprietary small molecules that inhibit an ion channel designated TRPV3. These drugs are intended for the treatment of various dermatological diseases, such as keratoderma, Lichen Simplex Chronicus and other severe genetic skin disorders.

“Large Number of Patients”

The Chairman of Kamari is Prof. David Aviezer, previously CEO of Protalix Biotherapeutics, who led it to its first FDA approval and listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Kamari is led by an experienced and professional management team, which includes Dr. Liora Braiman, CSO, and Asaf Yarkoni, CFO. It successfully completed the pre-clinical development of its first drug. Kamari is currently running clinical trials in patients in leading medical centers in Germany and Israel.

Prof. David Aviezer (left) and Prof. Shlomo Noy | Photos: Tamar Mazafi and Noam Asulin

“We are glad with the cooperation and the significant investment by GIBF, which will allow us to continue promoting our clinical programs”, said Prof. David Aviezer. “The establishment of our subsidiary in China and the investment by GIBF will allow us to expand and accelerate our clinical trials by collaborating with the leading hospitals in China and allowing us to treat their significant patient population. This will also enable us to quickly and directly address the significant Chinese patient market, which is characterized by a large number of patients with these diseases.”

“Keeping the Control”

GIBF is a Chinese investment fund in the medical field. It was established in 2016 in cooperation with the government of Guangzhou, the capital of South China, and is managed by the Israeli partners. The first fund, which raised about $100 million, made 12 investments in leading medical devices and digital health Israeli companies. At the end of 2021, despite the severe Covid-19 restrictions in China, the fund announced the first closing of its second fund, which is planned to be about $300 million. GIBF2 focuses on Western biotechnology companies, which develop innovative drugs and are in phase 2-3 of clinical trials.

“We are particularly proud of joining forces with leading figures such as Pontifax, Arkin Bioholdings and Prof. Aviezer”, noted Prof. Shlomo Noy. “Our first fund helped Israeli life sciences companies to establish subsidiaries in China and invested in those subsidiaries. These significant investments were made while keeping the control of the subsidiaries in the hands of the Israeli companies and fully protecting their IP. Our mutual goal is to develop innovative activity in China and to build value in this major market, which foreign companies typically leave in the hands of local partners.”

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