iOmx refuels with $75M+ on its search for immune checkpoint targets on tumor cells
While a big chunk of oncology research is focused on targeting T-cell regulators to stamp out cancer, iOmx Therapeutics is homing in on immune checkpoint targets on tumor cells — and it’s just received another $75.3 million to fuel their push toward the clinic.
iOmx unveiled the €65 million Series B round on Tuesday morning, roughly five years after emerging from stealth. The new cash will help the startup put its first candidate, an SIK3 kinase inhibitor called IMT-07, in the clinic late next year for solid tumors.
Right behind that program is an IGSF11-targeting antibody to treat PD-1/PD-L1-resistant tumors, which is also in the lead optimization stage, according to iOmx’s website.
“Using our iOTarg platform, we have previously identified two novel immune-checkpoint molecules expressed by cancer cells, SIK3 and IGSF11, and shown that blocking these targets with our proprietary drug candidates has anti-tumor effects and the potential to treat tumors that cannot otherwise be addressed by existing immune therapies,” CEO Apollon Papadimitriou said in a statement.
Papadimitriou was tapped as CEO back in 2019, taking the reins from Sebastian Meier-Ewert, who gave up his job as a managing partner at MPM Capital to take the lead at iOmx. Meier-Ewert is now at Roscue Therapeutics, according to his LinkedIn. Before taking the helm, Papadimitriou was iOmx’s chief development officer for two years.
The biotech isn’t saying much about its programs for now. But according to its website, there’s also a third candidate (an undisclosed monoclonal antibody) in the works.
iOmx co-founder Philipp Beckhove did much of the company’s foundation research while working at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and is now at the RCI Regensburg Center for Interventional Immunology. The company’s screening platform was developed by co-founder Nisit Khandelwal, SVP of research. Also among the company’s co-founders are Patrick Baeuerle, who’s lauded as a pioneer in the bispecific space; and Elmar Maier, current CEO at EM Biotech.
“In the vital world of cancer immunotherapy, iOmx’s platform technology stands out because it screens for novel druggable immune checkpoint targets on tumor cells instead of T cells, thereby allowing the development of drugs that can prevent tumor immune evasion,” said Matthias Kromayer, managing partner at MIG Capital, which co-led the Series B round.
Athos Service (the Strüngmann family office) also helped lead the round, and Wellington Partners, Sofinnova Partners and M Ventures chipped in.