An Israeli startup that develops treatments for cancer patients who are resistant to conventional treatments has raised $25 million.
Nectin Therapeutics has developed a treatment that blocks PVR, a protein synthesized by cancer cells that suppresses the immune system, and which can become resistant to the existing anti-cancer drugs, the PD-1 and PD-L1 immunotherapies.
Its novel treatment, NTX1088, also aims to restore the glycoprotein DNAM-1, which is central to the activation of anti-cancer T and NK cells. The cancer-generated protein removes it when it interacts with immune cells.
PVR is highly synthesized in many kinds of cancer, including lung, liver, ovarian, breast, and uterine cancers. High PVR expression is associated with a poor prognosis and resistance to the PD-1 and PD-L1 immunotherapies.
Nectin recently gave its first patient a dose of the novel treatment in a new clinical trial. The trial, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will include up to 90 patients with locally advanced and metastatic solid tumors – or cancer cells that have broken away from their original tumor and formed a new one in other organs.
The trial will escalate the dose of Nectin’s treatment to assess its safety and tolerability.
“Nectin has developed a highly innovative pipeline that has the potential to fundamentally overcome the limitations of existing IO therapies, delivering new treatment options for patients suffering from difficult-to-treat cancers, and we look forward to the results of the Phase 1 clinical trial of NTX1088,” said Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO at Nectin Therapeutics.
“As we continue to build on this foundation, we are delighted to welcome IBF as our new partner, joining our longstanding investors at aMoon Fund, Peregrine Ventures and Integra Holdings.”
The funding will be used to support the ongoing clinical evaluation of its first treatment, and to advance the company’s pipeline of targeted immunotherapies. IBF and Peregrine Ventures led the round, with participation from aMoon Fund and other existing investors.
Nectin Therapeutics is based in Jerusalem, with an office in New Jersey, USA.