Cambridge's Pandion Therapeutics Emerges With $58M and Two Superstar Execs as CEO, CSO
Pandion Therapeutics closed on a Series A financing worth $58 million. The round was co-led by Polaris Partners, the founding investor, and Versant Ventures and Roche Venture Fund. SR One and BioInnovation Capital also participated.
The company will focus on developing bispecific antibodies that regulate the immune system. Rather than oncology, Pandion will work to develop therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Its first indication will be inflammatory bowel disease. Additional indications will include autoimmune liver disease, kidney diseases, type 1 diabetes, and autoimmune skin conditions.
In addition to the financing, Pandion appointed Anthony Coyle as chief executive officer and Jo Viney as chief scientific officer. Prior to joining Pandion, Coyle was senior vice president at Pfizer and vice president and global head of inflammation biologics at MedImmune. Before, Viney was senior vice president of drug discovery and vice president of immunology research at Biogen, and before that, was at Amgen.
“Pandion is positioned to shift the paradigm for treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as transplant recipients by developing therapeutic antibodies that act as the local site of disease, offering the potential for significantly improved therapeutic options beyond systemic immunosuppressive treatments,” said Alan Crane, Entrepreneur Partner at Polaris and Pandion’s chairman of the board, in a statement. “We are delighted to have Tony Coyle and Jo Viney join Pandion along with a top-tier investors syndicate to help realize the full potential of our bispecific antibody platform to create value for patients and investors.”
In addition to Coyle, Viney and Crane, David Sachs is the scientific founder. Sachs is a professor with the Immunology Department at Harvard University, and with the Center for Transplantation Sciences at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A key aspect of Pandion’s approach is immunomodulation, as compared to immunosuppression. Coyle told Chemical & Engineering News, “Our approach is to drive down pathogenic cells, while ignoring the ones required for broad surveillance. I think that has really resonated with many of the investors. The platform and the molecules we are building are very novel and unique, but we are combining it with well-established and well-known biology.”
On Dec. 12, 2017, Pandion signed a collaboration deal with South San Francisco-based Distributed Bio. Distributed Bio will identify pre-optimized antibodies against multiple Pandion targets using its SuperHuman antibody library platform. Pandion also agreed to directly license multiple lead antibodies and potentially internalize the SuperHuman platform.
“We’re delighted to be working with the most innovative company in antibody discovery,” Coyle said in a statement. “After evaluating the many options available for novel antibody discovery, it was clear Distributed Bio and the SuperHuman platform provides Pandion with the fastest path to novel therapeutics. The lead antibodies have been pre-optimized by the SuperHuman library build process so we can save at least six months in engineering and optimization.”
Distributed Bio will receive license fees and is eligible for clinical milestone payments.
“Pandion and Distributed Bio are in many ways the ideal partnership,” said Jacob Glanville, Distributed Bio’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, in a statement. “Together we are showing what fresh, agile companies with innovative platforms can do to bring groundbreaking therapeutics to patients quicker than ever before.”