• Funding to accelerate clinical progression of Iksuda’s pipeline of new generation of antibody drug conjugates, targeting tumours with high unmet need
• Investment round led by Korean-based Mirae Asset Capital and Celltrion
Newcastle, UK, 7 June 2021: Iksuda Therapeutics (Iksuda), the developer of a new generation antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) with raised therapeutic index, today announced it has completed a US $47 million (circa GB £34 million) financing round, co-led by Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries, Celltrion and Premier Partners, with the Company being advised by Ashfords LLP. The funding will support the advancement of Iksuda’s lead ADC assets and expansion of its payload and conjugation platform technologies.
Iksuda’s lead pre-clinical candidate, IKS03, is a best-in-class CD19-targeted ADC candidate for B-cell cancers. The investment will enable progression of IKS03 to first-in-human phase 1 clinical trials. It will also be used to accelerate the Company’s earlier-stage programmes including IKS04 and IKS012 to IND filing.
Iksuda’s ADC programmes target tumours that currently have limited treatment options and high relapse rates. The Company’s drug development pipeline is centred on the improved safety and efficacy conferred by tumour activated, prodrug payloads in combination with stable conjugation technologies, including its proprietary novel PermaLink® platform. Iksuda’s research-stage pipeline utilizes its proprietary Protein Alkylating (ProAlk) tumour-activated payload platform, recently licensed from Göttingen University1. The novel mode of action for the ProAlk tuneable payload series differs from the field’s primary focus of intra- or DNA inter-strand cross-linking, conferring benefits against drug and tumour resistance mechanisms, and enabling the development of more powerful, more tolerable ADCs.
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 programmes and bring them to the clinic, whilst supporting our commercial growth. The funding not only reflects the potential of our technologies, but also the unmatched expertise of the Iksuda team. We are grateful for the support of this group of investors and delighted to welcome them to the team.”
Ji Kwang Chung, Investor, Mirae Asset Capital, commented: “We have been highly impressed with Iksuda’s approach and progress to date, and with the Company’s leadership. We are delighted to lead this investment round, and to contribute to enabling the team to progress its very promising pipeline of ADC candidates.”
Woosung, Kee, CEO, Celltrion Inc., added: “By pursuing tumours that are resistant to current treatment approaches, Iksuda is extending the boundaries of ADC technology, and consequently the treatment options for patients. This ideally complements Celltrion’s drive to pioneer uncharted areas of innovative therapies, incorporating unique and successful next-generational approaches that promote health and welfare globally. We have been very impressed with Iksuda’s progress to date and look forward to working together to support their mission.”
IKS03 is a best-in-class CD19-targeting ADC delivering a tumour-activated prodrug pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) which was licensed from LegoChem Biosciences (https://iksuda.com/2020/05/licensing-agreement-with-legochem-biosciences/). Preclinical testing demonstrates 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, demonstrating its potential to be the leading anti-CD19 therapy in B-cell cancers. IND is planned for Q4 2021, with initial phase 1 patient data anticipated Q3 2022.
About Celltrion, Inc
Headquartered in Incheon, Korea, Celltrion is a leading biopharmaceutical company, specializing in research, development and manufacturing of biosimilar and innovative drugs. Celltrion strives to provide more affordable biosimilar mAbs to patients who previously had limited access to advanced therapeutics. Celltrion received FDA and EC’s approval for Inflectra® and Remsima®, respectively, which is the world’s first mAb biosimilar to receive approval from a regulatory agency in a developed country. Also Celltrion received FDA and EC’s approval for Truxima® and Herzuma®. Its products are manufactured at state-of-the-art mammalian cell culture facilities, designed and built to comply with the US FDA cGMP and the EU GMP guidelines. Beyond antibody biosimilars, Celltrion is actively engaged in licensing in/out through strategic partnerships with the industry, academia, and research centres to expand its pipelines. Through these partnerships, Celltrion plans to boost the effectiveness of new drug R&D projects and revitalize the bio ecosystems in and outside of Korea.
About Mirae Asset Financial Group
Mirae Asset is a leading global diversified financial services firm operating out of 30 offices across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific. Founded in 1997, the company manages over $554bn in investor capital across its asset management, investment banking, life insurance and venture capital businesses. Since its founding, the firm has focused on investing in innovative and breakthrough ideas and teams across all sectors.