ADC developer, Iksuda Therapeutics, closes $47m financing round

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Dilok Klaisataporn
© GettyImages/Dilok Klaisataporn

Related tags: Antibody drug conjugates, payload, B-cell lymphoma

UK-based biotechnology company, Iksuda Therapeutics, has completed a US$47m (£34m) financing round, which was led by Mirae Asset financial group and included a strategic investment from Korean biopharma player, Celltrion.

The funding is set to accelerate the clinical phase of the biotech’s pipeline of antibody drug conjugates (ADC), which target tumors with high unmet need, limited treatment options and high relapse rates, as well as expansion of its payload and conjugation platform technologies.

In particular, it said the investment will advance its lead pre-clinical candidate, IKS03, into first-in-human phase 1 clinical trials.

The capital will also support the company’s earlier-stage programs including IKS04 and IKS012 to IND filing.

Dr Dave Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Iksuda Therapeutics, said: “This is a transformational investment milestone for Iksuda, enabling us to focus on the progression of our industry-leading ADC program, whilst supporting our commercial growth.”

Preclinical findings

Iksuda is focused on the development of ADCs that target difficult-to-treat hematological and solid tumors, centered on a portfolio of non-prodrug/prodrug DNA and protein alkylating payloads in combination with stable conjugation chemistries.

IKS03 is a CD19-targeted ADC candidate for B-cell cancers. It delivers a tumor-activated prodrug pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) that was licensed from LegoChem Biosciences.

Preclinical testing on IKS03 demonstrated best-in-class efficacy (vs in-clinic and marketed CD19-targeted therapies) in in vivo xenograft models and significantly raised maximum tolerated dose (MTD) in non-human primate disease models, said the developer.

IND is planned for Q4 2021, with initial phase 1 patient data anticipated Q3 2022.

Licensing deal 

Iksuda’s research-stage pipeline utilizes its proprietary protein alkylating tumor-activated payload platform, which the biotech licensed from Göttingen University in October last year.

The novel protein-alkylating mode-of-action of the payload series differs from the field’s primary focus of intra- or DNA inter-strand cross-linking, conferring benefits against drug resistance mechanisms, said Iksuda.

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