Privately-owned Swiss biotech company NBE-Therapeutics confirmed closing of a US $ 22M Series C financing round. The financing round was led by its existing shareholders Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and the PPF Group and included participation of all private shareholderes.

The funds will enable NBE-Therapeutics to advance development of the company’s lead asset,  NBE-002, through early clinical trials and to further strengthen the development team, management and board of the company.

NBE-Therapeutics’ best in class immune-stimulatory ADC (iADC™) platform is used to create highly potent and safe immune-stimulatory antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) with an anthracycline payload, inducing a long-lasting immunological anti-tumor effect.

The company’s lead program, NBE-002 against the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-Like Orphan Receptor 1 (ROR1) target, has been successfully completed, supporting the initiation of a first in man study.

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In April 2019 NBE-Therapeutics and WuXi Biologics signed a partnership agreement. The agreement was finalized to help NBE-Therapeutics supply investigational drug candidates product for clinical trials under Investigational New Drug (IND) applications. Earlier this year the companies confirmed that they have successfully completed cGMP manufacturing of the clinical batches.

The first-in-human clinical trials with NBE-002 is expected to start by mid-2020, focusing on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and lung cancer, as well as other solid cancer indications and lymphomas.

ROR1 which mediates several oncogenic pathways in a cancer type- and context-dependent manner, is an oncofetal protein and has gained attention in cancer therapy.[1]

The target was initially discovered as a relatively specific surface antigen on B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2008. However, the list of cancer types with ROR1 expression is rapidly expanding, and includes, among others, malignant melanoma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

“We are very proud of our achievements in developing NBE-002 toward IND filing. This has been recognized by our existing shareholders who, with this financing, show their continued commitment to NBE-Therapeutics,” commented Ulf Grawunder, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer and founder of NBE-Therapeutics.

“This financing will enable us to further develop our lead asset NBE-002 into clinic and take the next step in our goal to create valuable treatments for cancer patients. We highly value the trust our current shareholders have placed in both our technology platform and lead iADC program, through which we have been able to develop highly effective oncology treatments,” Grawunder added.

“NBE Therapeutics has progressed nicely over the last few years and is now entering its next phase, becoming a leading clinical-stage ADC company,” said Jens Hennecke, Ph.D, a board member of NBE-Therapeutics and representative of the PPF Group.

“The broad support by existing shareholders in this financing round is a testimony to the great promise of NBE’s NBE-002 in becoming a leading cancer treatment in the future,” Hennecke further noted.

“[We’re] very happy to further support NBE-Therapeutics, being one of the early investors in the company. NBE has been able to develop an ADC platform that overcomes all historical challenges in the field and is now ready to generate a clinical precedent by showing superiority over other ADC strategies, which would then allow full leverage of the underlying iADC technology,” concluded Detlev Mennerich, Ph.D, board member of NBE and Director and Investment Managenre at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.

[1] Karvonen H, Niininen W, Murumägi A, Ungureanu D. Targeting ROR1 identifies new treatment strategies in hematological cancers.Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Apr 15;45(2):457-464. doi: 10.1042/BST20160272.[PubMed]

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