CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Akrevia Therapeutics, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly-potent, tumor-targeted immuno-oncology therapeutics, today announced the closing of a $30 million Series A financing led by F-Prime Capital Partners and Atlas Venture. The investors have come together to recruit an experienced management team to accelerate Akrevia's pipeline and proprietary Aklusion® platform, which allows therapeutic antibodies, cytokines and chemokines to be specifically activated in the tumor microenvironment and tailored with precisely optimized pharmacologic properties.
Akrevia will be led by Tim Clackson, Ph.D., as President and Head of R&D and Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., as Executive Chairman. Dr. Clackson joins Akrevia after serving as President of R&D at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, where he led the discovery and development of Iclusig® (ponatinib) and Alunbrig® (brigatinib), two FDA-approved cancer therapeutics. Dr. Bermingham was most recently CEO of Intellia Therapeutics, a leading gene editing company which he founded, built, and took public.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Tim and Nessan, two experienced drug developers and entrepreneurs who have helped deliver novel therapies to patients and built successful, billion-dollar biotechs," said Ben Auspitz, F-Prime Capital Partners.
"We were attracted by the strong validation of Akrevia's founding technology from City of Hope, and the opportunity to harness the therapeutic potential of cytokines and chemokines," said David Grayzel, M.D., Atlas Venture. "We believe that the Akrevia team and platform will unlock the potential of multiple important immuno-oncology mechanisms and deliver a pipeline of potent, targeted agents to patients."
Optimizing Potency and Delivery: Aklusion Platform Technology
Akrevia's Aklusion platform, based on technology licensed from City of Hope and Thomas Jefferson University, allows potently active biological molecules to be inactive until they encounter the tumor microenvironment. With a potential best-in-class anti-CTLA4 antibody as validation, the technology can be applied broadly to other biologic architectures, including highly-potent cytokines and chemokines which currently have limited or no clinical utility due to toxicities. By tailoring pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties in parallel, Aklusion allows design of molecules with potential best-in-class potency and selectivity.
"Targeting is key to unlocking the true potential of immuno-oncology," said Tim Clackson, Ph.D., President and EVP R&D, Akrevia Therapeutics. "Currently, we don't lack potential agents – just the ability to effectively and safely deliver them where they're needed, and with precisely tailored properties. Our vision at Akrevia is to unleash the full potential of immune stimulating molecules including antibodies, cytokines and chemokines, as new options for patients living with cancer."
Additional Akrevia leadership includes Ronan O'Hagan, Ph.D., who formerly co-led the oncology discovery program at Merck, as SVP of Discovery, and Margaret Karow, Ph.D., formerly of Amgen and Regeneron, as SVP of Preclinical Development. Thomas Beck, M.D., and Ben Auspitz of F-Prime Capital serve on the Board of Directors alongside David Grayzel, M.D. and Michael Gladstone of Atlas Venture.
About Akrevia Therapeutics
Akrevia Therapeutics, LLC is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly-potent, targeted immuno-oncology therapeutics. The company's proprietary Aklusion platform technology allows biologics to be specifically activated in the tumor microenvironment, and with precisely tailored properties, expanding the universe of immune-activating proteins that can be safely delivered. Akrevia is applying its technology to build a broad pipeline of engineered antibodies, cytokines and chemokines as potential new options for patients living with cancer. To learn more, please visit www.akrevia.com.
About Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading biotech venture capital firm. With the goal of doing well by doing good, the firm has been building breakthrough biotech startups for over 25 years. Atlas works side by side with exceptional scientists and entrepreneurs to translate high impact science into medicines for patients. Atlas' seed-led venture creation strategy rigorously selects and focuses investment on the most compelling opportunities to build scalable businesses and realize value. For more information, please visit www.atlasventure.com.
About F-Prime Capital Partners
F-Prime Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm investing in life sciences, healthcare, and technology. F-Prime has worked closely with entrepreneurs and academics to create innovative solutions to some of the world's most significant challenges in healthcare and technology. For more information, please visit www.fprimecapital.com.