Proceeds to fund development of AXT107 for treatment of retinal diseases through Phase 1/2a clinical trials
Series A financing led by the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund
BALTIMORE, MD, June 24, 2020 – AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that uses computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular homeostasis for the treatment of retinal and other important diseases, today announced that it has closed a $35 million Series A financing led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund (“PXV Fund”) with participation from the Perceptive Life Sciences Fund, both funds managed by Perceptive Advisors, and existing investors Rapha Capital Management and Barer & Son Capital.
The proceeds from the financing will fund Phase 1/2a clinical trials of AXT107, the Company’s lead investigational drug, for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). AXT107 has a dual mechanism of action targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Tie2 and has preclinically shown long durability and unique drug delivery properties that may offer an improved treatment option for patients.
“We are excited to welcome Perceptive Advisors and their PXV Fund in leading this financing and look forward to benefiting from their deep expertise and track record in identifying promising new therapeutics in which to invest,” said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Chair of the AsclepiX Board and former Chairman and co-founder of Spark Therapeutics. “This investment represents a watershed moment for AsclepiX and provides transformative support for our vision to revolutionize the therapy of retinal disease and ultimately apply our computational technology platform to the discovery of novel clinically active molecules.”
Currently available therapies that inhibit VEGF have revolutionized the management of retinal vascular diseases, but they are indicated for repeated intravitreal injections every one to three months. This results in a significant treatment burden and many patients ultimately receive fewer than the recommended number of injections resulting in suboptimal visual outcomes. More importantly, a proportion of eyes fail to attain optimal visual outcomes even when receiving anti-VEGF therapy at recommended intervals. The potential for AXT107, if approved, is to provide patients with best-in-class efficacy coupled with convenient once-a-year dosing which could transform the treatment of retinal diseases.
Theresa Heah, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Operations at AsclepiX, added,
“We look forward to advancing our clinical program with AXT107 in three indications, wet AMD, DME and RVO and expect to initiate clinical trials in 2H2020. Our clinical development program for AXT107, with a novel mechanism of action and a unique drug gel depot, may lead to innovative new treatment options, delivering sustained vision gains with extended duration of action, for the benefit of our patients and caregivers, and to create value by reducing treatment burden for the benefit of ophthalmologists and payers.”
“We see AsclepiX as having a highly promising novel technology and a lead candidate that holds the potential to be best-in-class in treating retinal diseases. Our interest in investing was based on the robust and compelling data in animal models and their readiness to move into clinical development in the near term,”
said Chris Garabedian, Manager, PXV Fund for Perceptive Advisors and CEO of Xontogeny.
“We are pleased to lead this financing which we expect will advance AXT107 through three proof-of-concept studies in key indications and has the potential to improve on existing therapies and bring innovative treatment to patients suffering from retinal diseases.”
AsclepiX was co-founded by Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D. and Jordan J. Green, Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is currently led by interim Chief Executive Officer, Board Director, and Founder of Rapha Capital Management, Kevin Slawin, M.D. Also joining the AsclepiX Board of Directors as part of this financing will be Chris Garabedian, Manager, PXV Fund, Perceptive Advisors and Ben Askew, Ph.D., Partner, R&D, Xontogeny.
About AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc.
AsclepiX Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company using computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular homeostasis that is disrupted in retinal and oncologic diseases. The novel clinical candidate peptides discovered by AsclepiX tap into these naturally existing self-regulating mechanisms, evolved over millions of years, that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and thus restore and maintain health. AXT107, an investigational product and the lead clinical candidate, has a unique mechanism of action that targets two clinically proven pathways of diseases of the retina. AXT107 is poised to enter the clinic in late 2020.
AXT107 is an investigational drug candidate that has the potential to be a best-in-class monotherapy, that inhibits VEGF-A and VEGF-C and activates Tie2, for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). AXT107 emerged from AsclepiX’s computational biology-based discovery platform and is derived from a cryptic peptide within collagen IV that works by activating naturally existing, homeostatic mechanisms of angiogenesis. Due to its long half-life and intravitreal gel formation, AXT107 can potentially be dosed in not more than one intravitreal injection per year, which could dramatically reduce the treatment burden associated with standard therapies. AXT 107 is poised to enter human clinical trials in late 2020.
About Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund
Established in 2018, the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund (PXV Fund) focuses purely on private investments in early stage life sciences companies. A primary source of investments for the PXV Fund are companies that are seeded, incubated, and/or actively managed by Xontogeny, a life sciences accelerator that provides experienced operational support to successfully and efficiently advance early stage companies. The PXV Fund is an affiliate of Perceptive Advisors, a New York City-based investment management firm founded in 1999 and focused on supporting the progress of the life sciences industry by identifying opportunities and directing financial resources to the most promising technologies in healthcare. For more information about Perceptive, visit www.perceptivelife.com.