Biotechnology company Maxion Therapeutics (‘Maxion’) today announced the completion of its USD $16 million (GBP £13 million) Series A financing. The funds will be used to support the development of novel biologics targeting ion channels and G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) via Maxion’s proprietary, patent-protected KnotBody® platform. platform. Ion channels and GPCRs are critical cell surface proteins involved in a wide range of previously untreatable or poorly-treated diseases, including autoimmune conditions and chronic pain. The round was led by LifeArc Ventures, including Monograph Capital and BGF as equal participants.
Maxion was established by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr John McCafferty, who co-founded CAT (acquired by AstraZeneca for £700m) and IONTAS (acquired by FairJourney Biologics). At CAT, Dr McCafferty co-invented antibody phage display, the technology used to discover the world’s best-selling drug, Humira®, and the subject of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Maxion’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and co-founder is Dr Aneesh Karatt Vellatt (also co-founder of IONTAS), who along with Dr McCafferty invented the KnotBody platform.
While multiple small molecule drugs have been developed against ion channels, there are no approved antibody drugs addressing this target class, despite the many advantages of antibodies. Antibodies have the benefit of greater specificity, a superior safety profile, and the ability to engineer their properties using Dr McCafferty’s phage display technology.
The KnotBody platform unlocks the discovery of biologics against ion channels and GPCRs by using naturally occurring cysteine-rich miniproteins called “knottins”, which modulate ion channels and GPCRs but have poor drug-like properties. These are fused onto the surface of antibodies, and the resulting “KnotBodies” combine the functional activity of knottins with the excellent drug properties of antibodies. Maxion’s early R&D efforts have yielded KnotBodies to several therapeutically relevant targets, which will be developed as selective and long-acting first-in-class and best-in-class therapeutics.
Dr John McCafferty, CEO and co-founder of Maxion Therapeutics, said: Until now, ion channels have been a blind spot for antibody therapeutics. Our KnotBody technology gives Maxion the opportunity to address this neglected target class and enable improved treatment of diseases driven by ion channels and GPCRs. We look forward to working with our investors to expand our exciting pipeline.Article sourced from www.maxiontherapeutics.com