Q32 Stays Busy with $60 Million Series B and First Dose in Phase I Trial
Launching in the spring of a global pandemic took grit and guts. Q32 Bio has adapted at every turn to make it to this week’s achievement of dosing their first patient with their next-gen complement candidate and sealing the deal on a $60 million Series B.
The original plan for Q32’s IL-7 receptor antibody was to conduct their first-in-human studies in the Netherlands. But thanks to COVID-19, when clinical trials began to open up again, there were additional restrictions on drugs that affected the immunological system.
“We didn’t have any sense for the timing of being able to get into the clinic,” said Michael Broxson, CEO of Q32 Bio. “The team decided in June with broad support to pivot and do our Phase I work in Australia.”
The biotech switched hemispheres and moved their study to Australia. This Tuesday the first trial volunteer was dosed with ADX-914, a fully human antagonist antibody against IL-7R. By inhibiting the IL-7R signaling, they hope to re-regulate adaptive immune function in multiple high unmet need indications. ADX-914s first target is Sjögren’s disease, a chronic, autoimmune disease occurring in up to 4% of the population, causing extensive dryness of eyes and mouth, profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement neuropathies and lymphomas.
Proceeds from the Series B financing are intended to propel ADX-914 through demonstration of proof-of-mechanism as well as take the company’s groundbreaking tissue-targeted complement regulation platform to clinic.
The complement system is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens and to clear away dying cells. But when the complement system is hyperactivated, it drives a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Q32’s ADX-097 is a first-in-class fusion protein aimed to provide potent and targeted regulation of complement directly to diseased tissues without causing long-term systemic blockade, to minimize the risk of serious infections and other complications. Potential uses include numerous organ systems such as kidney, skin, liver and eye diseases. ADX-097 is expected to enter Phase I in the fourth quarter of 2021, about the time ADX-914 completes its first phase.
“The closing of our Series B financing and entry into the clinic are pivotal milestones for Q32 Bio,” Broxson said. “The initiation of the Phase I trial for ADX-914 represents an important achievement and a significant step toward bringing a powerful new treatment option to patients with autoimmune disease. We expect to continue to make major advances over the coming year as we move ADX-097 into the clinic.”
Q32 Bio was seeded in May by Atlas Venture, along with OrbiMed Advisors, Abingworth, Sanofi Ventures, University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Innovation. Joining them in this round was new investor Osage University Partners.
Q32 Bio’s pipeline aims to help patients take back control of their lives.