Swiss-based biotech iOnctura announced that it has raised an additional €5.1 million, which takes the company’s Series A funding round to €20.1 million. The funding round was led by 3B Future Health Fund (formerly) Helsinn Investment Fund S.A. along with SICAR, which joins the existing blue chip investor syndicate of M Ventures, INKEF Capital, VI Partners, and Schroder Adveq. iOncturna will use the investment to accelerate the development of its next-generation dual immune and tumor targeting therapies.
iOnctura SA, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, was founded in June 2017 as a spin out from Merck and seed funded by M Ventures. iOnctura is building on the link between the cellular and microenvironmental processes in chronic fibrosis and cancer, which are the same, to address cancer associated fibrosis which hinders therapeutic response to treatments including immunotherapies, as well as exploring efficacy in a range of fibrotic indications. Each of iOnctura’s programs harness the combined effect of immune-mediated and direct anti-tumor activity and aim to deliver molecules with superior clinical efficacy and safety in oncology.
The company’s lead program, IOA-244, entered the clinic in Q1 2020. The phase 1/1b study is aimed to clinically demonstrate for the first time that a highly selective PI3Kδ inhibition not only drives an immune-mediated response but also a direct anti-tumoral effect in a stratified patient population across multiple solid tumor indications. Data emerging from early clinical evaluation of IOA-244 is expected to enable progress into a Phase Ib trial earlier than anticipated. The company’s second molecule, IOA-289, is a novel autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor with dual utility in organ specific and cancer associated fibrosis. It is anticipated to enter human testing in early 2021.
Catherine Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of iOnctura, said: “I am pleased to welcome 3B Future Health Fund to our strong investor syndicate. This oversubscribed Series A round provides further validation and support of our strategy as we progress our novel, highly selective, PI3Kδ inhibitor and our differentiated ATX inhibitor through clinical development.”
Riccardo Braglia, 3B Future Health Fund Chairman and Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We look to invest in early-stage companies which are developing novel treatments in areas of high unmet patient need. We have been very impressed with the world class team at iOnctura and the potential of its next generation molecules targeting cancer and fibrosis.”