Israel-based NeoTX has closed its Series C financing round with $45m raised; this brings the company’s total funding to $60m.

NeoTX chief executive officer Asher Nathan said: “With the funds raised in this financing, we intend to complete the dose escalation phase of the Phase 1b trial of naptumomab estafenatox (Nap) in combination with durvalumab and continue to develop our patented STR [Selective T cell Redirection] platform.”

The company uses the STR platform to improve the response rate of current immunotherapies targeting solid tumours. Nathan explains: “Our platform, which uniquely leverages the body’s natural antibacterial immune response to selectively redirect T cells to kill the tumour, has the potential to be applicable in a variety of solid tumour indications and in combination with other immunotherapies.”

Nap is NeoTX’s lead programme and it directly targets tumours expressing the 5T4 antigen, which includes many advanced and metastatic solid tumours. NeoTX licensed the drug from Active Biotech in 2016, and began enrolling and dosing patients in its Phase 1b study in October 2019.

In this study, Nap is combined with AstraZeneca’s anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD1) checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab); this follows the signing of a February 2019 collaboration between NeoTX and AstraZeneca. NeoTX also believes its drug has promise as a monotherapy in various solid tumours.

Nathan commented: “We’re looking forward to bringing this therapy to patients suffering from advanced cancers that have thus far been unresponsive to therapy with checkpoint inhibitors alone.”

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The company also wants to use this $45m funding to in-license further technologies and products.

As a result of this latest financing round, four new individuals will join the NeoTX board of directors. These include Blackstone vice-chairman J Tomilson Hill, NDFFOS chairman Andrew Kim and NeoTX chief scientific officer and Nobel laureate Dr Roger Kornberg.