New Company Debuts with $72 Million to Advance a Novel Class of Targeted Radiopharmaceuticals
Aktis Oncology launched today with significant financing in hand to advance a novel class of targeted radiopharmaceuticals to treat a broad range of solid tumor cancers. The company’s launch was supported by pharma giants including Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, incubated by MPM Capital, raised $72 million in a Series A financing round. The company has developed proprietary platforms to discover best-in-class tumor-targeting agents designed with optimal pharmacology for delivering alpha radiotherapy. Aktis Oncology targeting agents are highly tumor penetrant but clear from other areas of the body quickly, to maximize tumor elimination while minimizing potential side effects of treatment, the company said. This approach would also enable clinicians to visualize and verify target engagement prior to exposure to therapeutic radioisotopes, Aktis said in its announcement. The company’s novel alpha radiotherapies are expected to improve upon the efficacy of conventional solid tumor therapies, while limiting toxicity. Aktis Oncology’s proprietary technology platform harnesses the power of alpha particles. Aktis Oncology’s theranostic approach would also enable clinicians to visualize and verify target engagement prior to exposure to therapeutic radioisotopes, allowing for a better selection of patients most likely to benefit from therapy. The company plans to produce multiple development candidates with the potential for efficacy against well-validated cancer targets.
The new company is helmed by Matthew Roden, who spent four years at Bristol Myers Squibb in various leadership roles before joining MPM Capital as an executive partner. Roden will serve as president and chief executive officer of Aktis.
“Alpha radiotherapy is the future of radiopharmaceuticals,” Roden said in a statement. “By harnessing the power of alpha particles – with nearly 1,000 times the potency of beta particles – we believe our approach has the potential to deliver game-changing results for patients.”
Other members of Aktis’ executive committee include Paul Feldman, who will serve as chief scientific officer, and Brian Goodman, who will serve as Head of Operations and Corporate Development. Aktis’ corporate offices will remain in Cambridge, Mass. and it will maintain laboratory operations in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Multiple companies have a focus on radiopharmaceuticals, including Novartis, Fusion Pharmaceuticals and Clovis Oncology. According to ResearchandMarkets.com, the global radiopharmaceuticals market was estimated to be $6.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $7.9 billion by 2025. An increase in the prevalence of cancer and increased use of medical imaging as a diagnostics procedure is fueling the growth of the market. Specifically, the growth of the market is being driven by demand for nuclear medicine such as SPECT and PET scans that will benefit diagnostics for cancer and other chronic diseases. There is also an increasing patient awareness for accuracy in the diagnosis that are also becoming a major driver of growth for this market, the report showed.
Aktis Oncology was founded by Brian Goodman, Patrick Baeuerle and Todd Foley of MPM Capital. Financing for the Series A was co-led by MPM Capital, EcoR1 Capital and Vida Ventures. Octagon Capital, TCG Crossover, Novartis and Bristol Myers Squibb also participated in the financing round.
“Aktis Oncology is building on recent successes in the radiopharmaceutical field, using a novel approach to extend the efficacy of targeted radiopharmaceuticals into a wide range of solid tumors,” Todd Foley, chairman of the Aktis Oncology Board of Directors, and Managing Director of MPM Capital. “We’re incredibly excited by the science, the team and a world-class syndicate of institutional and strategic investors that share in our vision to realize the potential of targeted radiotherapy to become a mainstream anti-cancer modality.”