CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – September 22, 2015 – Artax Biopharma, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class highly selective oral therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, has secured a $10M Series B round of funding. The financing was led by Henri Termeer, former CEO of Genzyme, and Advent Life Sciences; with participation from A. M. Pappas and existing investors. In conjunction with the financing, Henri Termeer and Raj Parekh, General Partner at Advent Life Sciences, will join Artax’s Board of Directors.
Artax’s lead compound, AX-024, is a highly selective immunomodulator of T-cell Receptor (TCR) signaling in autoimmune T-cells. The new funding will be used to advance AX-024 through Phase Ib and IIa clinical trials for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, and to further develop selective Nck inhibitors in partnership with Dr. Balbino Alarcon. Dr. Alarcon’s lab discovered Nck’s role in T-cell activation at the Spanish National Council (CSIC). Nck is a member of the SH2/SH3 family of cytoplasmic adapter proteins involved in transducing signals from receptor tyrosine kinases to downstream effectors, which play a key role in T-cell activation.
“The selective inhibition of Nck is an area of tremendous therapeutic potential for treating autoimmune diseases and one where Artax leads the world’s research efforts. As our AX-024 program advances in the clinic, we continue developing additional Nck-specific compounds.” said Damia Tormo, founder and CEO of Artax Biopharma. “We are thrilled with the confidence the new investors have in Artax and its technology. They will help us realize the full potential of our products and enable us to bring them to patients in need.”
“Artax is pursuing breakthrough science: a targeted immunomodulatory approach for autoimmune diseases that does not compromise the protective function of T-cells to external threats,” said Henri Termeer. “Artax has the potential to treat a range of autoimmune conditions in which current therapies are not optimal and may result in serious side effects.”
“Artax’s compounds could have clinical utility in virtually any pathogenic T-cell mediated diseases,” said Raj Parekh, General Partner at Advent Life Sciences. “We are excited about the potential of this novel science and its broad clinical applications.”