SciRhom raises €63M in series A to develop antibodies against autoimmune diseases

By Clara Rodriguez Fernandez

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

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The fundraising will support the development of SciRhom’s lead development program toward a proof-of-concept clinical trial.

SciRhom has announced the closing of a €63 million series A round led by Andera Partners, Kurma Partners, Hadean Ventures, MIG Capital and Wellington Partners. Bayern Kapital, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and PhiFund Ventures also participated in the round.

The funds will be used to accelerate the development of SciRhom’s lead candidate, an antibody drug known as SR-878. A first clinical study with SR-878 is expected to start in the second half of 2024.

“We are excited to have attracted such a high-caliber international consortium of investors and appreciate our existing shareholders backing SciRhom in this crucial period of its development,” said Jan Poth, Managing Director & CEO of SciRhom. “We look forward to collaborating with our new as well as existing partners and board members to bring a differentiated therapeutic option to patients and address the unmet medical need for much more effective and safe treatments for autoimmune disorders.”

SciRhom has developed an innovative therapeutic approach that has the potential to target a wide range of autoimmune diseases. The company’s technology revolves around the TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE), also known as ADAM17.

TACE as a drug target

The TACE/ADAM17 protein controls several major signaling pathways that drive inflammation and disease. The pharmaceutical industry has pursued TACE as a drug target for over a decade. However, small molecule inhibitors targeting TACE have never made it into clinical trials because directly blocking TACE causes severe side effects including skin infections and intestinal lesions.

To circumvent these side effects, SciRhom targets inactive rhomboid 2 (iRhom2), a protein that regulates the activity of TACE. Inhibiting iRhom2 can address the proinflammatory activity of TACE without affecting its protective functions on the skin and intestine.

SciRhom’s lead candidate, SR-878, is an antibody drug designed to block iRhom2. The candidate has delivered positive preclinical data in models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is now ready to enter phase 1 trials.

The company has received approval to initiate a first clinical study with SR-878 in Austria, which is expected to start in the second half of 2024.

SciRhom was founded in 2016 at the Innovation and Startup Center (IZB) in Martinsried, Germany. The company works closely with its scientific founder, professor Carl Blobel, who led groundbreaking research on iRhom2 that revealed its potential as a target for autoimmune diseases.

“Since its foundation, SciRhom has applied rigorous science to establish a leading position in iRhom2-targeting biopharmaceuticals,” said Jens Ruhe, co-founder, Managing Director & COO of SciRhom. “Now is the time to shift gears and accelerate our novel and potentially groundbreaking therapeutic strategy toward clinical proof-of-concept and beyond to reach patients in need of better autoimmune treatments.”

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