A Chinese I/O biotech looking to turn around an old Novartis program gets a new fundraise after launching PhIII study
Close to a year after pulling in its last private fundraise, Chinese immuno-oncology biotech Adlai Nortye is back with another nine-figure round. And it comes as it seeks to continue pushing forward a former experimental Novartis therapy.
Adlai Nortye raised $100 million in a Series D, the biotech announced Thursday, roughly 10 months after a Series C of the same amount. In addition to advancing its pipeline and furthering R&D, Adlai Nortye said some of the funds could be used for “mergers and acquisitions and other strategic collaborations.”
SDIC Fund Management and Tigermed co-led Thursday’s round. Adlai Nortye is headquartered in Hangzhou, China, with US operations running out of North Brunswick, NJ. Endpoints News has reached out for comment.
“This round of financing represents an important milestone for Adlai Nortye,” CEO Carsten Lu said in a statement.
Researchers have developed two platforms, one for immunology drugs and one to help develop antibodies, Adlai Nortye says. The first is a screening tool that rapidly runs potential candidates and targets through potential combination approaches, ostensibly allowing for better optimization for cancer drugs and designing more efficient clinical trials. The antibody platform, meanwhile, uses a yeast display system to facilitate drug discovery.
Adlai Nortye currently has four drug candidates in clinical trials, the most advanced of which is an oral pan-P13K inhibitor known as buparlisib. The compound is in the midst of a Phase III trial in combination with chemotherapy for recurrent or metastatic neck squamous cell carcinoma. The biotech launched the study in April and plans to enroll about 500 patients.
It’s a candidate Adlai Nortye received from Novartis back in 2018. The Swiss pharma punted on the program after a report from their scientists concluded the safety profile of the drug did not support further development in breast cancer. No financial terms were disclosed at the time of the deal.
Though buparlisib had shown a marginally significant survival benefit for breast cancer patients in a Novartis-run Phase III several years ago, Grade 3 or 4 adverse events were reported in nearly two-thirds of patients in the drug arm, compared to the control group’s rate of 34%. Side effects termed as serious arose in 22% of patients given the combo, with 16% in the control group. Researchers saw one treatment-related death in each arm.
There were also three suicide attempts in the buparlisib group, raising concerns about suicidal ideation among patients exposed to the drug.
In addition to buparlisib, Adlai Nortye is researching an oral EP4 antagonist in the neoadjuvant setting for locally advanced rectal cancer and an immuno-oncolytic virus for solid tumors and hematological malignancies.
Social: Carsten Lu, Adlai Nortye CEO (Adlai Nortye)