Aktis Oncology, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel targeted alpha radiopharmaceuticals to treat solid tumors, announced the completion of an $84 million Series A+ financing. This round of financing was supported by companies and institutions such as Merck’s corporate venture fund MRL Ventures Fund, BMS and Novartis. The company closed $72 million in financing in March 2021, bringing the total raised so far to $161 million.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Aktis Oncology is at the forefront of radiopharmaceutical therapy to treat solid tumors. Aktis’ proprietary technology harnesses the power of potent alpha radiation to destroy cancer cells more efficiently. The company is pioneering a new approach to radiopharmaceuticals. Features of Aktis Oncology’s proprietary technology platform include:
(1) Precise positioning: The specific targeting ability can penetrate deeply into the tumor and accumulate for a long time, destroying the tumor with “concentrated firepower”;
(2) Unique molecular design: custom-designed radiotherapy drugs deliver powerful alpha particles directly to tumor tissue while rapidly clearing non-target tissues in the body; minimize systemic isotope exposure;
(3) Strong tumor-killing ability: The tumor-killing ability of α particles is about 1000 times that of β particles, which can effectively induce double-stranded DNA breaks and prevent drug resistance.
At present, the company has not disclosed the detailed pipeline layout.
Matthew Roden, Ph.D., President and CEO of Aktis Oncology, said: “We are delighted to have the backing of an impressive array of new and existing investors who will join us in transforming the science of targeted radiopharmaceuticals into transformative patient impact. Vision. This additional funding will advance our small protein program into the clinic and further support our differentiated development capabilities as well as our end-to-end supply chain and distribution strategy.”
The radioligand market space has grown substantially over the past few years. Radiotherapy drugs are one of Novartis’ key anti-tumor therapies. The company currently has 2 radiopharmaceuticals, of which the latest radiotherapy drug Pluvicto was approved in March this year for the treatment of hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and castration-resistant prostate cancer. In 2020, RayzeBio, which was invested by Versant and venBio, has a RYZ101 drug in Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. In 2021, Bayer acquired Noria to strengthen its own radiopharmaceutical pipeline. On August 23 this year, AdvanCell announced the completion of an A$18 million (approximately US$12.4 million) Series B financing led by Morningside Ventures.