BOSTON and TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- ATP, a leading life sciences venture capital firm, and Biolojic Design, a biotechnology company that computationally designs functional antibodies, today unveiled Aulos Bioscience, a new company that is developing highly differentiated interleukin-2 (IL-2)-binding monoclonal antibodies as therapeutics against solid tumors. ATP has committed $40 million in Series A funding to advance Aulos' lead molecule from preclinical stage through clinical proof of concept, with human trials expected to start later this year.
"ATP created Aulos with Biolojic to develop antibodies with unique properties that we believe hold best-in-class promise among IL-2 targeted therapies," said Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of and venture partner at ATP. "Biolojic has designed elegant and impressively simple molecules that redirect IL-2 to low-affinity effector T-cells away from high-affinity regulatory T-cells by binding to the body's own IL-2, steering it away from immune suppression and towards immune activation. Other drug candidates that redirect IL-2 fail to target naturally occurring IL-2 and introduce complex, modified, exogenous versions of IL-2 that are often difficult to manufacture and can have unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties. We think that the advantages of the Aulos approach could enable us to deliver a new mainstay in fighting multiple cancers."
Yanay Ofran, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Biolojic Design and acting CEO of Aulos Bioscience, said: "We are excited to partner with ATP to bring our unique computationally designed antibodies to patients. Biolojic's AI-based platform designs mono- and multi-specific human antibodies that target pre-determined epitopes with exquisite precision and execute functions previously not carried out with antibodies. These capabilities are illustrated by the Aulos anti-IL-2 antibody approach, which has the potential to fully unlock the power of the patient's own IL-2. We see Aulos as an opportunity to dramatically change the cancer treatment landscape. Moreover, we believe this will be the first ever computationally designed antibody to enter human trials."
Aulos Bioscience will be based in Cambridge, MA. The company's Board of Directors is chaired by Dr. Ehlers and includes as members Dr. Ofran; Yechezkel Barenholz, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School who is known as an innovator of therapeutic applications of liposomes and nanomedicine, notably as a co-inventor of Doxil (doxorubicin); Joseph A. Yanchik III, a venture partner at ATP and founder of companies including Aileron Therapeutics and Tokai Pharmaceuticals (now Novus Therapeutics); and Raj Chopra, FRCP, FRCPath, FRSB, Ph.D., an ATP venture partner, former director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and co-founder of Monté Rosa Therapeutics.
Dr. Ehlers and Dr. Ofran will present more information about Aulos Bioscience at the 39th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Thursday, January 14, 2021. The live stream is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:25 am EST. A link to the webcast will be available on the Aulos website at aulosbio.com.
Founded in 1999, ATP is a leader in life sciences venture capital, with $2.65 billion in committed capital and offices in New York, London, San Francisco, and Cambridge, MA. ATP creates companies starting at various stages, from pre-IP ideas to asset spinouts, investing in them from seed stage through IPO and beyond. The core of ATP's strategy is to provide flexible capital and access to a world-class team of venture partners and EIRs, to build sustainable, research-driven enterprises that improve human lives. For more information, visit www.appletreepartners.com.
About Biolojic Design
Biolojic Design is committed to curing patients by designing and developing a pipeline of revolutionary therapeutics. Powered by AI, Biolojic's technology designs single and multi-specific antibodies precisely targeting predefined epitopes to execute novel biological programs. Focusing on diseases that involve the immune system, Biolojic develops a pipeline of antibodies that are designed to unlock the full potential of well-studied pathways. To learn more, please visit www.biolojic.com.
About Aulos Bioscience
Aulos Bioscience, an ATP company, is dedicated to revolutionizing patient care in cancer with highly differentiated immuno-oncology therapeutics. Aulos is initially developing unique IL-2 targeting antibodies that it believes have the potential to become best-in-class treatments for solid tumors. For more information, visit aulosbio.com.