New York Startup Syntimmune Secures Second Tranche of $26 Million Series A, Will Use to Advance Autoimmune Therapy

Published: Mar 22, 2016

New York Startup Syntimmune Secures Second Tranche of $26 Million Series A, Will Use to Advance Autoimmune Therapy
March 22, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

New York-based Syntimmune, Inc., announced today that it had triggered a $10 million tranche of the Company’s committed $26 million Series A financing by hitting preclinical proof of concept and preclinical safety testing for SYNT001. The Series A is co-led by Apple Tree Partners and Baxalta Ventures. Participants included the Partners Innovation Fund and others.

SYNT001 blocks the FcRn-IgG interaction and is being studied to treat IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases. Two molecules, neonatal Fc Receptor (FcRN) and immunoglobulin G (IgG), together can cause autoimmune diseases. As such, the company’s drug has the potential to treat many autoimmune diseases, including lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. The company has not indicated which disease it is presently targeting.

“The closing of the second tranche in the Series A affirms the progress Syntimmune has achieved and reflects the importance of targeting FcRn as a breakthrough modality for treating IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases,” said Laurence Blumberg, founder and chief operations officer of Syntimmune, in a statement. “Since our founding just over two years ago, Syntimmune has made rapid progress in advancing its pipeline of candidates and progressing its lead program, SYNT001, through IND-enabling studies and toward the clinic. SYNT001 is showing a promising preclinical safety profile and robust activity in unique in vivo preclinical models, which we plan to present at appropriate peer-reviewed forums.”

The Series A is expected to raise $26 million and appears to have raised $18 million in two tranches to date. The additional funds will be used to complete the Phase Ia clinical trial of SYNT001. It also plans to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-2016.

Syntimmune was founded in 2013 by Laurence and Richard Blumberg, who are brothers. About twenty years ago they founded Syntonix Pharmaceuticals, a hemophilia drug development company. Biogen acquired Syntonix in 2007. Richard Blumberg is the company’s scientific founder. Richard Blumberg is division chief of gastroenterology, hepatology and endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Laurence Blumberg is also Entrepreneur in Residence at The Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School.

“While FcRn is a highly validated target and has attracted substantial industry interest,” said Richard Blumberg in a statement, “there are no commercially available therapies designed to block IgG-FcRn interactions, which underlie diseases that affect multiple organ systems and for which there are continuing substantial medical needs.”

Other companies working in this area include Cambridge, Mass.-based Momenta Pharmaceuticals , Dutch company Argenx, and Dyax Corp. , which was acquired by Shire in January.

“The opportunity for SYNT001 is substantial,” said David de Graff, Venture Partner at Apple Tree Partners, in a statement. “We are extremely happy with the progress the team has made on the lead molecule, which has the potential to address a large number of autoimmune indications.”

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