Akamis Bio Announces $30 Million Financing, Provides Clinical Program Update and Relaunches with Name Change from PsiOxus Therapeutics
- $30 million convertible note financing co-led by ARCH Venture Partners, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Westlake Village BioPartners expands investor base to include leading US life science venture capital firms
- Clinical-stage NG-350A and NG-641 tumor gene therapies demonstrating consistent safety & tolerability profiles, as well as preliminary evidence of clinical activity in Phase 1 studies providing support for planned clinical PoC generation in future expansion cohorts
- Relaunch represents critical next step in the ongoing corporate transformation which builds on Q3 2022 appointment of Howard Davis, Ph.D., as CEO and Q4 2022 establishment of US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts
CAMBRIDGE, MA (USA) and OXFORD (UK) – January 5, 2023 – Akamis Bio (formerly PsiOxus Therapeutics), a clinical-stage oncology company leveraging its Tumor-Specific Immuno-Gene Therapy (T-SIGn®) platform to positively impact the lives of people living with cancer, today announced a $30 million convertible note financing co-led by a group of leading US life science investors. In addition, the company provided a progress update on its clinical pipeline programs, NG-350A and NG-641, while announcing a relaunch of the company as Akamis Bio building upon its ongoing corporate transformation. In conjunction with the corporate name change, the company has launched a new website at www.akamisbio.com.
The $30 million convertible note financing was co-led by new US investors ARCH Venture Partners, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Westlake Village BioPartners. It will further fund development activities for the clinical stage NG-350A and NG-641 programs, as well as general corporate purposes.
“Over the last several years, we have undergone an incredible transformation as a company, and our new name reinforces this evolution and our focused commitment to oncology drug development. The $30 million financing will enable the continued advancement of our clinical pipeline of T-SIGn® therapeutics and further establishes our US footprint,” said Howard Davis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Akamis Bio. “As we relaunch the company today, we thank our existing and new investors for their support and shared commitment to leveraging our groundbreaking solid-tumor targeted T-SIGn® therapeutics to turn the tide in the battle against cancer.”
Akamis Bio, formerly PsiOxus Therapeutics, was founded and has grown with the support of leading global and European investors including SROne, IP Group, Hambro Perks, Lundbeckfonden, Sedgwick Yard, Mercia Asset Management, and Rosetta Capital Limited.
“We are excited to support the talented team at Akamis Bio in their efforts to bring a set of powerful new immuno-oncology therapeutics to people living with cancer,” said Robert Nelsen, Co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. “We are delighted to partner with Akamis Bio’s existing investors as the company advances its current clinical programs and continues to expand its pipeline of T-SIGn® therapeutics.”
Clinical Progress Update – NG-350A & NG-641
Akamis Bio’s T-SIGn® therapeutics are viral vector-based, tumor gene therapies which have demonstrated the ability to specifically home to and replicate within primary and metastatic solid tumor tissue following intravenous delivery. Once at the tumor site, T-SIGn® therapeutics can drive intratumoral expression of multiple immunologically active biomolecules and therapeutic proteins to remodel the tumor microenvironment and trigger robust antitumor immune responses. Akamis Bio’s clinical pipeline of T-SIGn® therapeutics is anchored by two Phase 1 programs: NG-350A, an immuno-stimulatory tumor gene therapy driving intratumoral expression of a CD40 agonist monoclonal antibody; and NG-641, a stromal-targeted tumor gene therapy driving intratumoral expression of a FAP-CD3 bispecific antibody, CXCL-9, CXCL-10, and interferon alpha.
Across more than 200 patients with epithelial-derived solid tumors who have been treated in Akamis Bio’s clinical trials to date, T-SIGn® therapeutics have been well-tolerated and demonstrated a consistent safety profile. In clinical studies, NG-350A and NG-641 have shown promising preliminary evidence of clinical activity including dose-dependent elevation of systemic immune response cytokines and dose-dependent increases in CD8+ immune cell infiltrates within the targeted solid tumor tissue.
As the ongoing clinical studies for NG-350A (FORTITUDE and FORTIFY) and NG-641 (STAR, NEBULA, and MOAT) advance in 2023, Akamis Bio will continue to assess safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy in both monotherapy and combination (with checkpoint inhibitors) settings, as well as the potential benefits of multiple cycles of T-SIGn® therapeutic dosing. Akamis Bio anticipates the initiation of a set of expansion cohort studies for NG-350A and NG-641 in early 2024 to demonstrate clinical proof-of-concept in patient populations with a single type of epithelial-derived solid tumor.
Akamis Bio Corporate Relaunch
The company’s new name is derived from “Akamas,” one of the warriors who was inside of the mythical Trojan Horse which facilitated the successful Greek attack on Troy from inside the city’s otherwise impenetrable walls. The name is a nod toward the “Trojan Horse” mechanism of action of its T-SIGn® therapeutics which enter solid tumor cells and turn them into “drug factories” to facilitate the immune system’s attack on the tumor from the inside.
The company’s relaunch builds on the ongoing corporate transformation which has included the Q3 2022 hiring of a new US-based CEO in Howard Davis, Ph.D., as well as the company’s Q4 2022 establishment of its hub of US operations in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In conjunction with the corporate name change, the company has launched a new website (www.akamisbio.com).
Akamis Bio’s Tumor-Specific Immuno-Gene (T-SIGn®) therapeutics are chimeric group B adenoviral vector-based, tumor gene therapies which are capable of homing specifically to primary and metastatic solid tumors following intravenous delivery. Once at the tumor site, T-SIGn® therapeutics can drive intratumoral expression of multiple immunologically active biomolecules and therapeutic proteins encoded by the vector to remodel the tumor microenvironment and trigger robust antitumor immune responses. T-SIGn® therapeutics have potential for use in the treatment of solid tumors as monotherapy, as well as in combination with other immuno-oncology agents (e.g., checkpoint inhibitors, antibody drug conjugates, bispecific T-cell engagers, and cell therapies) to enable and/or enhance the efficacy of those modalities in the solid tumor setting. Akamis Bio has an extensive and growing body of clinical experience with T-SIGn® therapeutics with more than 200 patients treated across both the monotherapy setting, as well as in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Across clinical studies, T-SIGn® therapeutics have demonstrated a consistent safety and tolerability profile, as well as promising preliminary evidence of clinical activity.
About Akamis Bio
Akamis Bio is a clinical-stage oncology company whose mission is to leverage its groundbreaking Tumor-Specific Immuno-Gene Therapy (T-SIGn®) platform to positively impact the lives of people living with cancer. To achieve that mission, the company is developing a portfolio of solid tumor-targeted T-SIGn® therapeutics which aim to enable a patient’s own immune system to recognize, attack, and clear their cancer. Akamis Bio has a growing pipeline of T-SIGn® therapeutics anchored by its two clinical-stage programs, NG-350A (an immuno-stimulatory tumor gene therapy driving intratumoral expression of a CD40 agonist monoclonal antibody) and NG-641 (a stromal-targeted tumor gene therapy leveraging a viral vector encoding a FAP-CD3 bispecific antibody, CXCL-9, CXCL-10 & interferon alpha). NG-350A and NG-641 are both being investigated in ongoing Phase 1 clinical studies in patients with metastatic or advanced epithelial tumors. In addition to internal pipeline development efforts, Akamis Bio has a number of T-SIGn® platform-focused collaborations with leaders in the immuno-oncology field including BMS, Merck, and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI). To learn more, please visit www.akamisbio.com.
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