Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Connect secures $25m financing to advance immune modulators clinical development

Published 26 January 2017

Connect Biopharmaceuticals has completed a $20m Series A financing to advance clinical development of novel immune modulators.

Connect Biopharmaceuticals, Ltd., a clinical-stage company that discovers and develops novel immune modulators for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announces the completion of a $20 million Series A financing.

Qiming Venture Partners led the financing round and was joined by Northern Light Venture Capital, Lapam Capital and Cowin Venture Capital. This financing follows on a recently closed Pre-A round of $5 million participated by Cowin Venture Capital, Anlongmed Fund, and XinYue Equity.

Proceeds from this financing will be used to support the upcoming Phase 2 clinical study of the company’s lead drug candidate CBP-307 in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); and the IND-enabling and Phase 1 studies of a second drug candidate CBP-201 for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and asthma.

In conjunction with the financing, Dr. William Hu, Managing Partner of Qiming, and Dr. Xiaoping Ye, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Tigermed, join Connect’s Board of Directors.

Wubin Pan, Co-founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Connect, said: “We are extremely grateful for the high level of interest and the support from such a distinguished group of healthcare investors led by Qiming. The closing of this oversubscribed round speaks to the significant scientific and business milestones the Connect team has delivered to date.

“We are very excited to welcome William and Xiaoping to our Board and we look forward to working closely with both of them to guide Connect through the next phase of growth.”

Zheng Wei, Co-founder and CEO of Connect, said: “This successful fundraising is a strong recognition of the value of our product pipeline and immune modulator discovery platform.

“T cell modulation is now proven to be a powerful means of treating inflammation and cancer. This new funding will allow us to accelerate the clinical development of CBP-307 and CBP-201, two potent T cell modulators targeting the most critical pathways that underlie autoimmune and allergic diseases.”

William Hu of Qiming commented: “We find Connect an ideal investment opportunity because the company has built a strong immunology drug discovery platform and has shown an exceptional ability to execute its business strategy in a highly resource-efficient manner. The company’s portfolio of immune modulators are uniquely positioned to address the large unmet and rapidly growing medical needs in China and globally. We are delighted to join this exciting team to bring these innovative products to patients.”

About CBP-307

CBP-307 is a novel, orally-active, second-generation S1P1 agonist with best-in-class potential for the treatment of a wide range of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis (MS). The drug molecule works by reducing the movement of T cells from lymph nodes into tissues to cause inflammation.

Connect has successfully completed a Phase 1b study of CBP-307 in Australia in healthy volunteers, in which the drug demonstrated potent T cell modulation activity, ideal pharmacokinetics, and excellent tolerability. Planning for Phase 2 studies in patients with IBD and other diseases is currently underway.

About CBP-201

CBP-201 is a novel monoclonal antibody for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, asthma and other types of allergic inflammation. The drug binds IL-4Rα, a protein found on Th2 type T cells that is required for the signaling of both IL-4 and IL-13, two cytokines known to play a central role in a wide variety of allergic inflammatory diseases.

Preclinical studies showed that CBP-201 has highly differentiating properties including extremely high potency in blocking human T cell proliferation and inflammatory cytokine production, and excellent pharmacokinetics with a long half-life in preclinical species. A Phase 1 study is anticipated in the next 12 months.

Source: Company Press Release