Ona Therapeutics, a Barcelona Science Park (PCB), Barcelona, Spain-based company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic biologics to treat metastatic cancer, closed a €30m Series A financing.
Backers included existing investor Asabys Partners and new investors Alta Life Sciences, Bpifrance – InnoBio 2, Fund+ and Ysios Capital.
Founded in 2019 by IRB Barcelona, ICREA and research scientists Salvador Aznar-Benitah and Valerie Vanhooren (CEO), with backing from Asabys Partners – Sabadell Asabys, which was instrumental in putting together the Series A, Ona Therapeutics is a biotech company that specializes in the discovery and development of therapeutic biologics targeting tumor metastatic-initiating cells and lipid metabolism. Its approach is based on pioneering work from Dr Aznar-Benitah published in Nature in 2017 that validates Metastasis-Initiating Cells as therapeutic targets in metastatic cancer. The research shows that blocking the pathways that allow fat metabolism in animal models of cancer inhibits the cells that give rise to metastases, with the potential to not only prevent the development of these malignant growths, but also to eliminate existing ones. Importantly, this stands out as a common feature shared among various metastatic tumors, such as oral, breast, ovarian, gastric, bladder, prostate and melanoma.
The financing will allow the company complete the pre-clinical development in a variety of tumor types and to move its lead candidate into first clinical studies in patients with metastatic cancer in 2023.
The investor syndicate will join the Ona Therapeutics Board which will consist of: Jose Mesa (Alta Life Sciences), Jean-François Morin (Bpifrance – InnoBio 2), Alexandra Tolia (Fund+) and Joël Jean-Mairet (Ysios Capital), and Interim Chair, Clara Campàs (Asabys Partners).