Ariceum Therapeutics extends Series A by $25m to propel radiopharmaceuticals through clinical trials

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Germany Peptide radiopharmaceuticals

The radiopharmaceuticals developer Ariceum Therapeutics has bagged $24.9m (€22.8m) in a Series A extension round. Adding to a $27.4m (€25m) Series A closing last year, the Series A winnings for the German startup now total $52.3m (€47.8m).

Newcomer investors Andera Partners and Earlybird Venture Capital co-led the extension round, with participation from existing investor Pureos Bioventures. Ariceum will use the cash influx to fund the development of its clinical-stage pipeline of radiopharmaceuticals – drugs that guide radioactive molecules to a tumor to blast the cancer with radiation, sparing healthy tissue in the process.

"As we continue to make promising progress at Ariceum, the new funds will allow us to advance our clinical pipeline of diagnosis, monitoring and precision treatments to improve the lives of those facing very challenging cancers,” stated Manfred Rüdiger, Chief Executive Officer of Ariceum, in a press release.

Radiopharmaceuticals in diagnostics and therapeutics

Radiopharmaceutical drugs have been in use as cancer treatments for decades, with one of the earliest examples being radioactive iodine. One type of radioactive iodine can be used alongside medical imaging to track thyroid tumors, and another form of radioactive iodine can be used to kill the same tumors. This combination of diagnostics and therapy, known as theranostics, helps to screen patients rapidly and make sure they can benefit from a radiopharmaceutical drug.

Ariceum’s lead candidate satoreotide consists of a peptide that seeks out a protein called somatostatin type 2 (SST2) receptor, which is overexpressed in a number of cancers. The company aims to develop satoreotide as a theranostic compound by switching its radioactive molecule payload, and is targeting aggressive cancers including neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and small cell lung cancer.

Ariceum was launched in 2021 by EQT Life Sciences (formerly LSP) and HealthCap. The firm’s name is an anagram of 'Marie Curie,' the name of the Nobel Prize winner famous for her research into radioactivity. After its founding, Ariceum acquired its lead candidate radiopharmaceutical satoreotide from Ipsen, which is a shareholder in the startup.

A booming field

Until the last decade, the field of radiopharmaceuticals was primarily moved forward by academic researchers. However, radiopharmaceuticals gained traction in the biotech industry when the French company Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) received marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead candidate in 2018, shortly after its acquisition by Novartis.

Nowadays, there are many startups aiming to make an impression in the evolving field. One is Aktis Oncology, which raised $84m in a Series A extension round in August 2022. Rayze Bio, another radiopharmaceuticals hopeful, bagged $160m in Series D cash in September 2022.

However, the route to developing new radiopharmaceuticals isn’t easy. In December 2022, the FDA rejected the market approval of an antibody radiopharmaceutical developed by Y-mAbs. This led Y-mAbs to deprioritize the program in its company update in January 2023.

Related topics Bio Developments

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