Iksuda Therapeutics raises $47m in investment


The investment will see it progress to the first phase of human clinical trials of lead drug treatment, which is due to start next year

A Newcastle biotech business will accelerate human trials of its lead cancer drug after raising $47m in investment.

Iksuda Therapeutics, which is based in the Biosphere at Newcastle science park Helix, announced the transformational $47m (around £34m) funding round, which was led by Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries, South Korean drug developer Celltrion and Premier Partners.

The company was first launched in the city nine years ago at the city’s incubator facility, having moved from Bath following initial investment.

It changed its name in 2018 from Glythera Ltd to Iksuda after switching its focus from licensing to drug development, working on the next generation of biological therapeutics that are used in treatments for diseases like cancer.

Now the firm will be able to use the money to fund human clinical trials of its lead cancer drug, as well as expand its platform technologies.

The multimillion-pound investment will see it progress to the first phase of human clinical trials of lead drug treatment IKSO3, which is due to start next year. First phase trials usually last between a year and 18 months and focus on drug safety rather than how effective they are.

ISK03 is an antibody drug conjugate, (ADC), which targets tumour cells and poisons them. Iksuda’s ADC programmes target tumours that currently have limited treatment options and high relapse rates.

As well as using the funds to take forward its most advanced drug, Iksuda will also accelerate its earlier-stage programmes to the filing stage as a Investigational New Drug (IND).

Dr Dave Simpson, chief executive officer at Iksuda Therapeutics, said: This is a transformational investment milestone for Iksuda, enabling us to focus on the progression of our industry-leading ADC programmes and bring them to the clinic, whilst supporting our commercial growth.

The funding not only reflects the potential of our technologies, but also the unmatched expertise of the Iksuda team. We are grateful for the support of this group of investors and delighted to welcome them to the team, he said.

Ji Kwang Chung, investor at Mirae Asset Capital, said: We have been highly impressed with Iksuda’s approach and progress to date, and with the company’s leadership. We are delighted to lead this investment round, and to contribute to enabling the team to progress its very promising pipeline of ADC candidates.

Woosung Kee, CEO at Celltrion Inc, added: By pursuing tumours that are resistant to current treatment approaches, Iksuda is extending the boundaries of ADC technology, and consequently the treatment options for patients.

He said this ideally complements Celltrion’s drive to pioneer uncharted areas of innovative therapies, incorporating unique and successful next-generational approaches that promote health and welfare globally. We have been very impressed with Iksuda’s progress to date and look forward to working together to support their mission.

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