Amunix Raises $73 Million in Series A Financing Led by Omega Funds
- Harnessing clinically validated prodrug technology to advance novel pipeline of T cell engager and cytokine agents that are selectively activated in the tumor microenvironment
- Proprietary T cell engager (XPAT) and cytokine (XPAC) platforms designed to overcome toxicity and immunogenicity challenges of potent immune stimulators
- Company nominates lead XPAT T cell engager development candidate, AMX-818, targeting HER2+ solid tumors
- Series A financing completes Amunix’s transformation from a technology licensing company to an oncology drug discovery and development organization
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA; March 4, 2020 – Amunix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Amunix”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing prodrugs to bring the promise of potent immune-activating biotherapeutics to patients with solid tumor cancers, today announced the successful completion of an oversubscribed $73 million Series A financing. Boston-based Omega Funds led the financing, with participation from existing investor Frazier Healthcare Partners and new investors Longitude Capital, Redmile Group, Polaris Partners, Casdin Capital, Two River, Venrock, and Delian Capital.
Amunix is focused on advancing a pipeline of novel T cell engagers (XPATs) and cytokines (XPACs) that are selectively activated in the tumor microenvironment and are designed to overcome toxicity and immunogenicity challenges common to both therapeutic classes. Both the XPAT and XPAC platforms leverage the company’s clinically validated XTEN technology, which has demonstrated low immunogenicity, to generate prodrugs.
Amunix plans to utilize the Series A proceeds, along with the $40 million upfront payment from a Roche licensing agreement announced in January 2020, to advance its lead development candidate, AMX-818, an XPAT T cell engager targeting HER2+ solid tumors into the clinic, to progress earlier discovery stage XPAT programs and to initiate XPAC discovery work. The company plans to relocate to South San Francisco later this year to better take advantage of the talent pool.
As part of the Series A financing, Otello Stampacchia, Ph.D., Managing Director and Founder of Omega Funds; David Hirsch, M.D., Ph.D., Managing Director and Founder of Longitude Capital; and James Brush, M.D., Partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners, will join Amunix’s Board of Directors.
“The completion of our Series A financing marks a critical milestone for Amunix, as the investment affords us a significant financial runway to advance our novel pipeline of T cell engagers and cytokines targeting a spectrum of solid tumors,” said Angie You, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Amunix. “Biologic immune activators hold tremendous untapped promise to help many cancer patients achieve better outcomes. We are focused on making this promise a reality by leveraging our clinically validated prodrug platform to deliver T cell engager and cytokine therapies that combine potency with an augmented safety profile and unique ability to evade an undesirable immune response. Our XPAT T cell engager platform holds the potential to deliver off-the-shelf therapies capable of redirecting T cells in the body to fight solid tumors.”
Dr. Stampacchia commented, “We are delighted to have successfully led this financing for Amunix, especially in the current market environment. We are glad to have attracted a syndicate of sophisticated, long-term investors who are familiar with this ever more important therapeutic modality. We look forward to deploying this important platform to address the limitations of other approaches in the space. We see in Amunix's next-generation XPAT T cell engager platform a great potential to address the biggest hurdle to bringing the benefits of this class to solid tumor cancers patients: on-target off-tumor toxicity."
Since its founding in 2006, Amunix has operated as a technology licensing company, forging agreements with multiple leading biopharmaceutical companies to leverage XTEN, a proprietary half-life extension technology, and Pro-XTEN, a next-generation prodrug technology. Pro-XTEN utilizes a protease-releasable XTEN polypeptide as a mask, thus enabling localized activation of potent therapies. Pro-XTEN has been clinically validated, with the most advanced program utilizing the technology currently in a pivotal Phase 3 study for a non-oncology indication. Under the leadership of Dr. You, who was appointed CEO in January 2019, Amunix has focused its internal efforts on advancement of the XPAT and XPAC platforms and the company’s proprietary pipeline.
In collaboration with Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D., Amunix’s co-founder and current President and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. You has recruited a high-caliber executive team who brings immuno-oncology experience relevant to the company’s platforms, as well as the necessary expertise to advance its pipeline through approval and launch. In addition to Drs. Schellenberger and You, Amunix’s leadership team includes Mika Derynck, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, formerly Global Head for Cancer Immunotherapy, GI/GU Cancers, Angiogenesis Franchises and China Oncology Development at Genentech; Maninder Hora, Ph.D., Chief Technical Operations Officer, formerly Chief Technical Operations Officer at Nektar Therapeutics; Bryan Irving, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, formerly Chief Scientific Officer at Five Prime Therapeutics; and Darcy Mootz, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, formerly Chief Business Officer of ORIC Pharmaceuticals.
About Amunix Pharmaceuticals
Amunix Pharmaceuticals, based in Mountain View, CA, is focused on developing prodrugs to bring the promise of potent immune-activating biotherapeutics to patients with solid tumor cancers. The company is leveraging its proprietary T cell engager (XPAT) and cytokine (XPAC) platforms to advance a pipeline of novel prodrugs that are selectively activated in the tumor microenvironment. Both platforms utilize Amunix’s prodrug technology that has been clinically validated to extend drug half-life with limited immunogenicity. Amunix is advancing its lead development candidate, AMX-818, an XPAT T cell engager targeting HER2+ solid tumors, toward the clinic, and has several discovery programs underway, including an IL-12 XPAC program. By delivering breakthrough therapies that can safely harness the immune system, we aim to conquer cancer and save lives.
For additional information about the company, please visit www.amunix.com.
About Omega Funds
Founded in 2004, Omega Funds is a leading international investment firm that creates and invests in life sciences companies that address our world's most urgent medical needs. Having raised more than $1 billion since its inception, Omega specializes in identifying and powering companies through value inflection points across the full arc of innovation, from company formation through clinical milestones and commercial adoption. Omega Funds' portfolio companies have brought 37 products to market in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, rare diseases, precision medicine and others. Please see the website at www.omegafunds.com for additional information.
Darcy Mootz, Ph.D., CBO