Artios Pharma’s lead program is targeting DNA polymerase theta (PolΘ), a double-strand break repair pathway that has the potential to be used in clinical settings, according to the company.
Niall Martin, CEO of Artios Pharma told us that PolΘ was the push behind the financing. “The company has raised a substantial amount of finance in order to take the company through into the clinic and get a readout of the Phase Ib PoC [proof of concept] work for at least our lead program PolΘ,” said Martin.
Martin explained that all programs within its pipeline, not just PolΘ, have chemical equity with probe compounds that are helping define clinical opportunities making them substantial investments. Martin continued, “We have since identified a number of very strong further opportunities in DDR that with our expertise and know-how in developing DNA damage response (DDR) targets can be brought forward with extra funding to develop a broader and more sustainable pipeline and create additional value.”
The funding quickly reached beyond the target Artios set of $50m. While PolΘ was the main program to bring forward from this funding, many investors in this series B opted to fund with the assurance from Artios that there will be a focus on multiple clinical milestones. Thus preventing the distraction of possible further fundraising.
“We want to be able to leverage this expertise to build a sustainable DDR company, replenishing our pipeline with exciting new targets, through our partnership with CRUK and other high-value DDR groups, such as Masaryk University. Our strategy is to create a high-value company that can deliver key future medicines that can change the clinical treatment paradigm in oncology,” said Martin.
Arix BioScience is Artios’ largest shareholder. Other investors in this funding include: Andera Partners, Life Sciences Partners, Pfizer Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund, among existing shareholders.