Engitix Nets $54M for Human Extracellular Matrix Drug Targets
Engitix Therapeutics announced it had raised $54 million in Series A financing. The company plans to use the money to boost its drug discovery pipeline in fibrosis and cancer and expand its team, facilities and operations.
The British biopharmaceutical company, which has already developed a platform for discovering human extracellular matrix drug targets, received support from two investors, led by existing investor Netherton Investments, a fund investing on behalf of BlueCrest Capital co-founder Mike Platt, and Italian and U.S.-based pharmaceutical group Dompe Famaceutici S.p.A. In addition, Engitix and Dompé have agreed to collaborate on new treatments for fibrosis and liver-associated solid tumors.
Engitix has developed a portfolio of programs in fibrosis and solid tumors and two significant partnerships based on its pioneering proprietary human extracellular matrix (ECM) drug discovery platform.
The agreement with Dompé, a biopharmaceutical company with next-generation chemo- and bio-informatic tools and an AI-driven drug discovery platform to deliver precision-engineered medicines, includes both an investment and a multi-year and multi-program strategic research and development collaboration to support the identification of new treatments for fibrosis and solid tumors associated with the liver.
The deal will keep Engitix in full control over its assets and programs, allowing its transition from a technology platform to a biopharmaceutical product company. With Dompé being a vital shareholder, it is eligible for clinical and commercial milestones and royalties on marketed products developed under the collaboration.
Engitix will also seek to set up partnerships with other pharma and biotech firms. It has an exclusive license agreement with Takeda in Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH), liver fibrosis worth more than $500m biodollars, and a recent partnership with Morphic Therapeutics in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Marcello Allegretti, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Dompé, said, “Our mission is to improve people’s lives and we partner with the best academic and industrial groups to accelerate the research that will bring new solutions to patients’ unmet needs. We look forward to working with the Engitix team to combine the power of Exscalate with Engitix’s deep understanding of the biology of the fibrosis and solid tumors microenvironment and the unique strength of its ECM platform. Our collaboration will enable us to accelerate the clinical translation of targets beyond our four key in-house therapeutic areas of ophthalmology, metabolic disorders, oncology, and pain management.”
Dr. Giuseppe Mazza, co-founder and CEO at Engitix Therapeutics, is excited about the financing and new partnership with Dompé. “This financing and new partnership with Dompé enables us to continue our evolution from a platform to multi-asset mutli-programmes pre-clinical stage company and to continue to prove the value of our human ECM platform. We are pleased to have the continued backing of Mike Platt, and to have secured the support of Dompé as a partner and investor. This round will enable us to advance our pre-clinical programmes against targets identified using our ECM platform through candidate selection and IND-enabling studies.”
In other news, biotech company 64x Bio announced it has closed a $55 million Series A round. The fund will be used to advance its gene therapy manufacturing platform, which company officials and investors believe could revolutionize the economics and accessibility of gene therapy.
The funding will boost 64x’s cell line engineering platform VectorSelect to develop new ways of generating highly optimized and otherwise unattainable cell lines for a wide range of gene therapies and build them out to be manufactured at scale. The proceeds will also be used to expand its employee base and partnership efforts with leading gene therapy companies by expanding additional intellectual property, operations, and business development infrastructure.
The San Francisco-based gene therapy biotech company building a platform that increases the speed and scale of mammalian cell line discovery shows promise in developing treatments to chronic or severe illnesses, injuries and possibly even change the way we age.
Alexis Rovner, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of 64x Bio, said, “With the support of our incredible investors and scientific team, we aim to become the leading developer of vector manufacturing cell lines, to revolutionize the economics of gene therapy and the reach of these lifesaving medicines to patients.”