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Another ADC Developer Lands a Mega Round of Financing for Cancer Clinical Trials


The class of cancer therapies called antibody drug conjugates, or ADCs, continues to be an area of strong investor interest and Torl BioTherapeutics is the latest biotech to capitalize on it. This week, Torl unveiled $158 million in financing, the same sum it raised when launched last year.

Los Angeles-based Torl calls the new capital a Series B-2 financing. The proceeds will support continued clinical development of its lead program, TORL-1-23. This ADC targets tumors that express a protein called Claudin 6 (CLDN 6). While this protein is overexpressed by many types of cancer cells, it has limited expression in healthy tissue, which makes it a promising drug target.

Torl said it plans to use the new capital to complete Phase 1 testing of TORL-1-23. The company then plans to proceed to a pivotal Phase 2 clinical trial in the second half of this year, evaluating the CLDN 6-targeting therapy in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. The proceeds will also fund early stage development of other programs addressing other cancer targets. Torl’s latest financing was led by Deep Track Capital, which had participated in the firm’s 2023 Series B round. New investors include RA Capital Management, Perceptive Advisors, and Avidity Partners.

Here’s a recap of other recent biopharma industry financings:

PureTech Health unveiled Seaport Therapeutics, a clinical-stage startup developing neuropsychiatric drugs delivered through the body’s lymphatic system. Seaport is backed by a $100 million Series A financing.

—EnteroBiotix, a Glasgow, Scotland-based microbiome therapies developer, raised £27 million (about $34 million). The company will use the capital to advance lead drug candidate EBX-102-02 through a Phase 2 clinical trial in irritable bowel syndrome. The funding will also support development of other programs for liver cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy.

—Wellington Management led the $160.5 million Series C financing of Obsidian Therapeutics. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based developer of cell and gene therapies will support OBX-115, a tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) in clinical development for melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer. Obsidian has partnerships with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Bristol Myers Squibb.

—Alterome Therapeutics, a company that applies machine learning to drug discovery, closed $132 million in financing. The San Diego-based biotech will use the new capital to advance multiple small molecules into the clinic, including a highly specific AKT1 E17K inhibitor and a KRAS selective inhibitor. Goldman Sachs Advisors led the Series B round.

—Neurosterix launched with $63 million and a pipeline of preclinical drugs for neurological disorders. The small molecule drugs and the technology platform that produced them come from Addex Therapeutics. The cash comes from Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Funds. Addex receives 5 million Swiss francs and a 20% equity stake in Neurosterix.

Diagonal Therapeutics emerged from stealth with $128 million and a technology platform that applies artificial intelligence to the discovery and development of agonist antibody drugs. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup’s lead program is in preclinical development for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a rare bleeding disorder with no FDA-approved therapies.

—Avenzo Therapeutics closed a $150 million financing to support clinical development of AVZO-021, which is Phase 1 development for HR positive, HER2 negative breast cancer and other solid tumors. The San Diego-based biotech claims its drug, a CDK2 inhibitor, could be best in its class. New Enterprise Associates, Deep Track Capital, Sofinnova Investments, and Sand Capital led what Avenzo calls a Series A-1 financing.

Mirador Therapeutics launched with $400 million in seed and Series A financing to support the development of novel inflammation and immunology drugs. The disease targets of Mirador remain undisclosed, but the biotech is led by the same management team that steered inflammatory disorders biotech Prometheus Biosciences to a $10.8 billion acquisition by Merck last year.

—Neurosciences company Engrail Therapeutics raised $157 million to support a drug pipeline that spans anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rare neurodegenerative diseases. The most advanced program is ENX-102, which is in Phase 2 testing for generalized anxiety disorder. Engrail’s Series B round was co-led by F-Prime Capital, Forbion, and Norwest Venture Partners.

—Johns Hopkins University spinout Clasp Therapeutics launched with $150 million to develop T cell engagers for cancer that could offer safety and efficacy advantages over drugs in the same drug class. Clasp’s Series A financing was led by Catalio Capital Management, Third Rock Ventures, and Novo Holdings.

—Cell therapy developer Capstan Therapeutics closed $175 million in financing. The startup employs messenger RNA to deliver instructions that reprogram a patient’s T cells to go after a target. Lead program CPTX2309 is intended to deplete B cells that drive autoimmune disease. RA Capital Management led the Series B financing, San Diego-based Capstan said will support the lead cell therapy through clinical proof of concept. Capstan, a University of Pennsylvania spinout, launched in 2022.

—As cancer drug developer Tubulis prepares to enter the clinic this year, the Munich, Germany-based biotech raised €128 million (about $139 million) in Series B2 financing. In addition to supporting its pipeline of ADCs, the new capital will go toward a U.S. subsidiary at a yet-to-be-determined location.

Image: abluecup, Getty Images



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