iTeos Therapeutics Closes on $75 Million Series B Financing
Belgium-based iTeos Therapeutics SA completed an oversubscribed Series B financing worth $75 million. The round was led by MPM Capital. New investors HBM Partners, 6 Dimensions Capital and Curative Ventures also participated. All existing investors participated as well, including Fund +, VIVES II, SRIW, and SFPI.
The raised funds will be used to advance several of the company’s immuno-oncology programs. It will also be used to expand its new offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
iTeos plans to move EOS100850, an adenosine A2A antagonist, into the clinic this year and toward clinical proof-of-concept. It also plans to move EOS884448, an anti-TIGIT antibody, into the clinic in 2019. It also has pipeline products that target the tumor microenvironment.
“This oversubscribed financing underscores the enormous potential of our innovative next-generation immuno-oncology pipeline and confirms the confidence in our leadership team to deliver value for patients and investors,” said Michel Detheux, iTeos’ chief executive officer, in a statement. “We plan to continue to rapidly advance our promising therapies into the clinic and to design additional therapeutic candidates based on our industry-leading drug discovery and early clinical development expertise.”
As part of the round, Ansbert Gadicke, co-founder and managing director of MPM; Christiana Bardon, managing director of the UBS Oncology Impact Fund managed by MPM; and Priyanka Belawat, investment advisor at HBM Partners, will join the iTeos board of directors.
Reuters reports that the company has about 40 employees and previously partnered with Pfizer. However, that was something of a setback. Pfizer had licensed EOS200271, an IDO1 inhibitor, from iTeos, but in January 2017, Pfizer bailed on the drug, returning the worldwide rights to the Belgium company.
It plans to move into its U.S. offices in August. At least part of the rationale for opening U.S. offices is to prepare for an initial public offering. It also plans to conduct clinical trials in the U.S. Detheux also indicated he projected a five-to-seven-year timeline for regulatory approval, although he declined to say how long the latest funding would last.
In April, iTeos presented data for its A2A antagonist and anti-TIGIT antibody programs at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. Adenosine A2A receptor is the main adenosine receptor expressed on immune cells, and promotes immune suppression, allowing cancer cells to hide from the immune system. The company’s EOS100850 restores T-cell activation inhibited by adenosine.
TIGIT is an immunosuppressive receptor expressed on lymphoid cell populations. TIGIT expression increases in cancer patients and is a sign of exhausted T cells. EOS8884448 is an antagonist antibody against human TIGIT. Preclinical trials have shown it can restore T cell function.
“We believe iTeos is a strong investment opportunity with several promising immuno-oncology drugs in its pipeline that have significant clinical advantages over competitive drug candidates,” said Ansbert Gadicke, in a statement. “Michel and his team have an excellent track record of discovering new ways to fight cancer and strategically growing the operations. MPM is very excited to be involved as the company expands into the U.S. and continues its evolution.”