Three Biopharma Companies Raise Millions in Separate Series A Financing Rounds
Stablix Therapeutics launched with a $63 million Series A financing round that will be used to develop the company’s and advance a portfolio of protein stabilizers towards the clinic.
New York-based Stablix’s TPS platform, dubbed RESTORED, “generates heterobifunctional small molecules (RESTORACS) that recruit deubiquitinase enzymes to remove ubiquitin from targeted proteins and consequently stabilize or increase target protein levels and activity,” according to the company announcement.
Stablix will initially aim the platform to develop programs that treat rare diseases, cancer, and immunological disorders. With the RESTORED platform, Stablix said it’s possible to inhibit the ubiquitin-proteasome system in a target-selective manner to treat some of these diseases.
“Stablix possesses a first-in-category platform that can restore protein stability and function in a target-selective manner,” Carlo Rizzuto, a partner at Versant and acting Chief Executive Officer of Stablix said in a statement. “We are very pleased to launch this company to address this important therapeutic white space for numerous devastating diseases.”
The company pointed to cystic fibrosis as a disease that could benefit from its approach. Stablix said mutations in the CFTR gene produce a functional protein that is subject to excessive ubiquitination. This can lead to rapid degradation through the proteasome.
Excess ubiquitination is also a hallmark of some cancers, where E3 ubiquitin ligases are “frequently upregulated or amplified.” This drives the degradation of tumor suppressor proteins, the company added.
The Series A financing round was led by Versant Ventures, the founding investor of Stablix. NEA, Cormorant, Euclidean Capital and Alexandria Real Estate Equities also contributed.
Stablix wasn’t the only company to announced funds from a Series A financing round this morning. Texas-based Stellanova Therapeutics, a resident company at JLABS @ TMC, closed a $15.5 million Series A financing round. Funds will be used to support the development of antibody drugs and a discovery platform targeting pro-tumorigenic factors produced by fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment, which can render resistant cancers treatable. Stellanova aims to advance its lead antibody asset into the clinic.
Stellanova is focused on targeting pro-tumorigenic effects enabled by the activity of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (known as CAFs) in the tumor microenvironment. These CAFs play significant roles in promoting cancer growth and metastasis. They spur angiogenesis, suppress anti-tumor immunity, and foster chemoresistance.
Stellanova’s lead antibody candidate is designed to neutralize DKK3, a factor secreted by CAFs that acts on neighboring cancer cells and immune cells to promote tumor progression and therapy resistance. Rosa Hwang, co-founder of Stellanova, said the company’s lead antibody shows robust anti-tumor activity, alone or together with immune therapy, in highly refractory preclinical models of the pancreas and triple negative breast cancer.
The Series A financing round was led by Sporos Bioventures, LLC.
Belgium-based Amyl Therapeutics raised €18.3 million ($22.3 million) in Series A funding. The company will use funds from the round to advance the discovery and development of preclinical therapeutic candidates that can target multiple misfolded proteins implicated in both progressive peripheral and rare neurodegenerative diseases.
The company’s amyloid fibrils specific technology platform dubbed ClariTY was developed for the treatment of all forms of Amyloidosis, which can be seen in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Therapeutic assets based on the ClariTY platform are designed to prevent the further accumulation of these amyloid aggregates and clear existing aggregates from the peripheral organs and the brain. Also, they are designed to block further “cell-to-cell spread of misfolded proteins.” The company believes these therapies may offer a breakthrough approach to treat protein misfolding diseases.
The financing round was composed of an €8.6 million equity investment led by Belgium-based Noshaq, with participation from Merieux Participations, Sambrinvest, and other private investors. Additionally, a non-dilutive funding of €9.7 million was made by the DG06, a Belgium-based policy-design and implementing body.