BioAtla, Inc., a San Diego, California, and Beijing, China-based clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) antibody therapeutics, closed a Series D financing round raising $72.5m.
The round was led by Soleus Capital and joined by several new investors including HBM Healthcare Investments as co-lead, Cormorant Asset Management, Farallon Capital, Pappas Capital, funds managed by Janus Henderson, Boxer Capital, and one other institutional investor. Current investor Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), also participated in the financing.
The company intends to use the funds to design, implement, and execute clinical programs evolving from its CAB platform that yields tumor-targeting antibodies with the potential for an enhanced benefit risk profile.
Led by Jay M. Short, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer, BioAtla uses proprietary protein discovery, evolution and expression technologies to generate conditionally Active Biologics. These proteins can be monoclonal antibodies, enzymes and other proteins designed with functions dependent on changes in micro physiological conditions (e.g., pH level, oxidation, temperature, pressure, presence of certain ions, hydrophobicity and combinations thereof) both outside and inside cells. CAB proteins are designed to deliver their therapeutic payload and/or recruit the immune response in specific and selected locations and conditions within the body and to be active only in the presence of a particular cellular microenvironment. In addition, the activation is designed to be reversible to repeatedly switch ‘on and off’ should the CAB move from a diseased to a normal cellular microenvironment and vice versa. CABs can be developed in a variety of formats, including antibodies, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecifics, chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-Ts) and combination therapies.
BioAtla has two programs currently in Phase 1/2 clinical testing in the United States, BA3011, a novel conditionally active AXL-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (CAB-AXL-ADC), and BA3021, a novel conditionally active ROR2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (CAB-ROR2-ADC). Its investigational CAB CTLA-4 antibody, BA3071, is subject of a global co-development and collaboration agreement with BeiGene Ltd. for its development, manufacturing and commercialization. BA3071 is a novel, CTLA-4 inhibitor that is designed to be conditionally activated in the tumor microenvironment in order to reduce systemic toxicity and potentially enable safer combinations with checkpoint inhibitors such as BeiGene’s anti-PD-1 antibody, tislelizumab.