Eyeing RNAi potential in cancer and fibrosis, trans-Pacific biotech Sirnaomics lines up $47M Series C
With support from a syndicate that speaks to its extensive China ties, Gaithersburg, MD-based Sirnaomics has raised an additional $22 million to close out its C round.
As its name suggests, the biotech is focused on all things related to small interfering RNA (siRNA), the key molecule mRNA silencing. Popularized by Alnylam, which scored the field’s first FDA approval, siRNA kicks off action in the RNA-induced silencing complex, which then goes on to cleave a specific mRNA, thereby downregulating target genes.
Sirnaomics’ big idea is to employ a better vehicle to carry the siRNA cargo to cells: a polypeptide nano-particle, or PNP, composed of a branched histidine lysine polymer. According to the company, the peptide is biodegradable, offers protection to the siRNA while in the bloodstream, and can carry multiple siRNA sequences, allowing their products to go after multiple genes at once. The last property, it emphasizes, is especially crucial for targeting cancer.
CR-CP Life Sciences Fund — a joint venture of two conglomerates from Hong Kong and Thailand respectively — led the Series C2. Rich Yield Capital, Rolling Boulder Investment and Legend Sky Investment all chipped in to bring Sirnaomics over the $47 million line in total.
The proceeds will help propel the lead drug candidate, STP705, forward, including an ongoing Phase II for non-melanoma skin cancer and another in bile duct cancer/liver cancer slated to begin later this year. There’s also a Phase II trial for hypertrophic scar reduction in China as Sirnaomics’ explores the lead drug’s potential in fibrotic diseases.
“Sirnaomics is the only biotechnology company conducting clinical drug development in the field of RNAi therapeutics both in USA and China, the two major markets for oncology and fibrosis,” Da Liu, the managing director of CR-CP Life Science Fund, said in a statement.
Liu added that the biotech has a “truly international” management team, with a sizable C-suite comprising CEO Patrick Lu, CMO Michael Molyneaux, CSO David Evans, COO George Ji, chief technical officer Dmitry Samarsky, and chief production officer Marc Lemaître.