Israeli biotech Nectin Therapeutics closes $25M to treat cancer

Nectin Therapeutics team
Image credits: Nectin Therapeutics

Nectin Therapeutics, a biotechnology company aiming to transform the lives of cancer patients with the next generation of immuno-oncology (IO) therapies, has raised $25 million in an extension to its Series A investment.

Clinical evaluation of NTX1088

IBF and Peregrine Ventures (which has backed BrainQ) led the round, with participation from aMoon Fund and other existing investors. Nectin Therapeutics will use the investment to support the ongoing clinical evaluation of NTX1088 and to further advance its pipeline of targeted immunotherapies and Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs).

In addition to this investment, Nectin Therapeutics also announced the closing of the first patient in its Phase 1 clinical trial of NTX1088, its first-in-class PVR (CD155) blocker, in cancer patients with locally advanced and metastatic solid tumors.

The trial is being conducted at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) with an investment from the Cancer Focus Fund, LP. The trial will include up to 90 patients treated with NTX1088 as a monotherapy and in combination with a PD-1 blocker.

The Phase 1 trial is an open-label study consisting of a dose escalation stage in up to 50 patients and an expansion stage in 40 patients. NTX1088 will be investigated as a single agent and in combination with a PD-1 blocker. The primary objectives of the dose escalation stage are to assess safety and tolerability and to select a recommended safe and effective Phase 2 dose.

Later, NTX1088’s safety and tolerability will be further evaluated, along with efficacy measures and exploratory assessments of pharmacodynamic and predictive biomarkers.

“PVR blockade by NTX1088, with its first-in-class differentiated mechanism of action, has demonstrated compelling preclinical anti-tumor activity both as a monotherapy and in combination with other cancer immunotherapies,” said Dr. Pini Tsukerman, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Nectin. “Importantly, NTX1088 has potent activity in ICI refractive models where TIGIT or PD-1 blockade has failed to show a benefit.”

“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.”

“NTX1088’s triple mechanism of action represents a unique approach to treating challenging cancers and we are excited by its potential to address a range of treatment-resistant tumors,” said Ross Barrett, a founder and Managing Partner of Cancer Focus Fund. “Cancer Focus Fund was established to help finance cancer clinical trials with exceptional potential and we are delighted that this Phase 1 study of NTX1088 is underway.”

First-in-class PVR blocker!

Nectin Therapeutics was founded by Ofer Mandelboim and Pini Tsukerman in 2017 in Jerusalem. The Israeli biotech is based on the discoveries and inventions of Prof. Ofer Mandelboim from the Hebrew University and Prof. Stipan Jonjic from the University of Rijeka together with Dr.Pini Tsukerman, who is a co-founder and the Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Tsukerman is an immigrant to Israel from Ukraine (USSR).

The team is 10 people. Five are located in Israel, four are US-based, and one is in France.

Within this small group, Nectin Therapeutics has 8 male and 2 female employees. 7 Jewish and 3 Muslims. Employees are originally from Israel, Ukraine, US, Algeria, Argentina and Palestine. The company’s differentiated therapies have the potential to achieve new standards for efficacy and patient response across a number of difficult-to-treat cancers.

It has a world-class scientific and management team with deep experience in oncology drug development and a successful track record in building biotechnology companies and developing innovative therapies.

NTX1088 is a first-in-class high-affinity monoclonal antibody directed against PVR, a transmembrane protein expressed on cancer cells and associated with resistance to PD-1 and PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Notably, PVR is overexpressed in many solid tumours across different cancer indications, including lung, colorectal, liver, ovarian, breast, adrenal, pancreatic, uterine, head and neck, gastric and esophageal.

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