Biopharmaceutical Company AsclepiX Therapeutics Raises $35 Million

By Dan Anderson ● June 29, 2020
  • AsclepiX Therapeutics — a biopharmaceutical company that uses computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular homeostasis for the treatment of retinal and other important diseases — announced that it raised $35 million

AsclepiX Therapeutics — a biopharmaceutical company that uses computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular homeostasis for the treatment of retinal and other important diseases — announced that it raised $35 million in Series A funding led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund with participation from the Perceptive Life Sciences Fund (both funds managed by Perceptive Advisors) and existing investors Rapha Capital Management and Barer & Son Capital.

The proceeds from the financing will be used to fund Phase 1/2a clinical trials of AXT107 — which is the company’s lead investigational drug — for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). And AXT107 has a dual mechanism of action targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Tie2 and has preclinically shown long durability and unique drug delivery properties that may offer an improved treatment option for patients.

The current available therapies that inhibit VEGF have revolutionized the management of retinal vascular diseases, but they are indicated for repeated intravitreal injections every one to three months. And this results in a significant treatment burden and many patients ultimately receive fewer than the recommended number of injections resulting in suboptimal visual outcomes.

Plus a proportion of eyes fail to attain optimal visual outcomes even when receiving anti-VEGF therapy at recommended intervals. And the potential for AXT107, if approved, is to provide patients with best-in-class efficacy coupled with convenient once-a-year dosing which could transform the treatment of retinal diseases.

AsclepiX was co-founded by Aleksander S. Popel, Ph.D. and Jordan J. Green, Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. And it is currently led by interim Chief Executive Officer, Board Director, and Founder of Rapha Capital Management Kevin Slawin, M.D. In connection with the funding Chris Garabedian (Manager of PXV Fund at Perceptive Advisors) and Ben Askew, Ph.D. (Partner, R&D at Xontogeny) will join the AsclepiX Board of Directors.

Key Quotes:

“We are excited to welcome Perceptive Advisors and their PXV Fund in leading this financing and look forward to benefiting from their deep expertise and track record in identifying promising new therapeutics in which to invest. This investment represents a watershed moment for AsclepiX and provides transformative support for our vision to revolutionize the therapy of retinal disease and ultimately apply our computational technology platform to the discovery of novel clinically active molecules.”

– Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Chair of the AsclepiX Board and former Chairman and co-founder of Spark Therapeutics

“We look forward to advancing our clinical program with AXT107 in three indications, wet AMD, DME and RVO and expect to initiate clinical trials in 2H2020. Our clinical development program for AXT107, with a novel mechanism of action and a unique drug gel depot, may lead to innovative new treatment options, delivering sustained vision gains with extended duration of action, for the benefit of our patients and caregivers, and to create value by reducing treatment burden for the benefit of ophthalmologists and payers.”

– Theresa Heah, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Operations at AsclepiX

“We see AsclepiX as having a highly promising novel technology and a lead candidate that holds the potential to be best-in-class in treating retinal diseases. Our interest in investing was based on the robust and compelling data in animal models and their readiness to move into clinical development in the near term. We are pleased to lead this financing which we expect will advance AXT107 through three proof-of-concept studies in key indications and has the potential to improve on existing therapies and bring innovative treatment to patients suffering from retinal diseases.”

– Chris Garabedian, Manager, PXV Fund for Perceptive Advisors and CEO of Xontogeny