LONDON – It used to be called junk DNA, but now Ervaxx Ltd. has shown the noncoding parts of the genome are a treasure trove of novel cancer antigens. Two years after spinning out of the Francis Crick Institute in London, the company has emerged with a $17.5 million series A funding and a fully formed platform for systematically discovering coding sequences for what it refers to as "dark antigens." (The name is trademarked.)
BEIJING – Antibody developer Akeso Biopharma Inc., from China's Guangdong province, closed a $150 million series D financing round to advance its pipeline, especially the two PD-1-based bispecific antibodies, AK-104 and AK-112, aimed to help it stand out in the fierce PD-1 space in China. "A significant portion of the proceeds will go to AK-104 and AK-112, which are both first-in-class drug candidates," Akeso CEO Michelle Xia told BioWorld. This year is a big one for Akeso, as AK-104 and AK-112 received IND approvals from the FDA in March and July, respectively.
Brisbane-based Kira Biotech Pty Ltd. is poised to enter the clinic after raising AU$20 million (US$13.72 million) in series A funding to develop therapies targeting immune system disorders. The round was led by Oneventures, one of Australia's leading venture capital firms with more than AU$330 million in funds under management.