Medicxi Combines Six Portfolio Companies with $100M to Launch Alys Pharma

Atopic dermatitis_iStock

Pictured: Woman scratching skin on her arm/iStock

Investment firm Medicxi has merged six of its dermatology-focused companies to form Alys Pharmaceuticals, which will develop novel therapies in the immuno-dermatology space, the new Boston and Swiss-based biotech announced Monday.

Medicxi is also throwing in an additional $100 million in seed funding, which is meant to last the newly formed biotech for another 12 months, Alys Pharmaceuticals Chair Francesco De Rubertis told Endpoints News. Alys currently still has around $75 million on its balance sheet and is hoping to secure some $160 million to $215 million more in equity investments from investors and pharma companies either in late 2024 or early next year.

The funding will help Alys reach its goal of delivering seven to 10 proof-of-concept readouts by the end of 2026, along with at least one program entering registrational studies, according to Alys’s Monday announcement.

Alys is an amalgamation of six Medicxi portfolio biotechs. The first is Aldena Therapeutics, which in March 2023 raised $30 million to advance its siRNA-based candidates for various immuno-dermatology targets such as atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, psoriasis and vitiligo.

Medicxi is also roping in Graegis Pharmaceuticals, which was founded in late 2021 to develop products that protect cancer patients’ healthy skin against the harsh side effects of radiotherapy, according to Labiotech. Alys also includes the U.K.-based Granular Therapeutics, which is working on precision biologic therapies for mast cell-based inflammatory conditions.

Also under included under the Alys umbrella are Vimela Therapeutics, Nira Biosciences and Klirna Biotech.

John Harris, chief innovation officer at Alys, in a statement called the combination of these six companies “uniquely exciting,” forming a “rich and diverse pipeline” of innovative therapies in dermatology, including vectorized siRNAs, peptides and sophisticated antibodies.

Operationally, Alys will keep its component companies separate so they can each focus on their platforms and programs, De Rubertis told Endpoints News. However, from a top-down leadership perspective, Alys will act as an “integrated shop” targeting key indications in the dermatology space such as eczema, chronic spontaneous urticaria and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Alys’s most mature program is the Graegis asset for dermatitis in breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy, according to COO Thibaud Portal, who revealed the information in a joint interview with De Rubertis.

The candidate will enter Phase II studies within the next two months and will be followed by two more Investigational New Drug filings this year, plus an additional five applications next year, according to Portal.  

In addition to leveraging the expertise of its six component companies, Alys is also working with leading institutions including UMass Chan Medical School, Georgia Institute of Technology and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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