UPDATED: Biotech vets jump on board a startup, raise cash and take aim at the clinic with anti-inflammatory drugs
A Salt Lake City-based biotech startup is jumping on board the antibody train — and it’s equipping itself for the journey ahead with a round of VC financing.
Sorriso Pharmaceuticals announced this morning that it closed a Series A worth $31 million in a round co-led by Arix Bioscience and New Enterprise Associates. Sorriso’s new funding will advance the biotech’s oral antibody pipeline — specifically its lead candidate through preclinical development, according to a Sorriso statement.
Arix committed $13 million as part of the financing, in exchange for a 26% stake on a fully diluted basis.
Sorriso president and CEO Ciara Kennedy told Endpoints News that the funds have a two-year runway, which will be enough time to get their lead drug — an antibody called SOR102 that targets TNFa and IL-23 for inflammatory bowel disease — through Phase I trials and get everything ready for starting Phase II. And as far as the timeline goes, Phase I trials will start later next year as Sorriso is currently in the middle of IND-enabling work, Kennedy told Endpoints.
Sorriso, founded last year by Susan Dubé, focuses on antibody treatments for other inflammatory diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the biotech. Their technology, Kennedy said, is an antibody platform that Sorriso licensed from UK antibody biotech VHsquared, which was finalized earlier this year.
Dubé, who also serves as Sorriso’s CFO, spent over four years at Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, a former portfolio company of Arix Bioscience before Amplyx was bought out by Pfizer earlier this year. She worked her way up to VP of corporate development before leaving in January 2020 — and starting up Sorriso a few months later.
Kennedy is also an Amplyx alum — she was Amplyx’s CEO from 2016 until this April.
And with the financing, NEA general partner Ed Mathers and Arix managing director Mark Chin join Sorriso as the newest members on Sorriso’s board of directors.
“I am looking forward to working with Mark and the Arix team again as we advance our pipeline of innovative therapies through clinical development,” Kennedy said in a prepared statement.