Nexo Therapeutics, a new small molecule oncology company, has raised $60m in a Series A financing round.

With participation from New Enterprise Associates and Cormorant Asset Management, the funding round was led by founding investor Versant Ventures.

The funding supports Nexo’s platform, which uses covalent ligand discovery and chemical biology to develop new cancer therapies targeting previously difficult targets.

The company has developed a chemistry engine named CODON (Covalent Discovery and Optimisation) specifically designed to tackle the difficulties of discovering ligands.

CODON integrates a unique library that harnesses chemical diversity and covalent chemistries, with scalable biochemical and in-cell proteomics.

The company can utilise this capability to detect promising compounds and optimise them to generate compounds suitable for in vivo studies.

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Nexo founder and CEO Andrew Phillips stated: “For many cancer patients, there are no therapies that target the fundamental drivers of their disease.

“At Nexo, we are leveraging innovations in covalent chemistry and chemical biology to enable targeting these fundamental drivers. Our deep expertise in cancer biology and medicinal chemistry will allow us to efficiently advance therapies that provide new treatment options.

Nexo has also reached a multi-year strategic collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for the advancement of new cancer therapies against previously undruggable targets.

The alliance combines Nexo’s drug discovery platform, which integrates covalent chemistry and chemical biology, with MD Anderson’s Translational Research to AdvanCe Therapeutics and Innovation in ONcology (TRACTION) platform, known for its expertise in translational research and drug development.

Both entities will work together from discovery through to investigational new drug-enabling studies to advance the development of small-molecule therapies for patients with limited treatment options.