Adcendo, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based biotech company which is developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancers, raised EUR 51m (US$ 62m) in Series A financing.
The round was led by Novo Seeds and Ysios Capital, with participation from RA Capital Management, HealthCap and Gilde Healthcare. As part of the financing, Jeroen Bakker, Principal at Novo Seeds, will join the Board.
The company plans to use the funds to bring the lead program targeting the novel cancer target uPARAP/Endo180 to proof of concept in patients.
Founded in 2017 by scientists Niels Behrendt, Lars Henning Engelholm and Christoffer Nielsen from The Finsen Laboratory of Rigshospitalet and the University of Copenhagen, and Henrik Stage, a biotech-entrepreneur active in several biotech companies, and previously CEO/CFO of Santaris Pharma which was acquired by Roche in 2014, Adcendo is developing novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for treatment of cancers. ADCs are a class of highly potent biopharmaceutical drug composed of an antibody linked, via a chemical linker, to a biologically active drug or cytotoxic compound.
uPARAP is a cell-surface receptor involved in collagen degradation and was cloned and characterized by the scientific founders. The receptor has a restricted expression profile in healthy individuals but is highly upregulated on the tumor cells of several cancer forms, including soft-tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), triple-negative breast cancers, and certain leukemias. Additionally, uPARAP is found to be upregulated in the stromal cell compartment of several larger tumor indications, including breast-, colon- and prostate cancers. uPARAP is a recycling endocytic receptor, which mechanistically provides an extraordinarily efficient entry point into uPARAP-expressing cells. Hereby the target may be used as a cancer-associated “drug internalization pump” to bring the drug to the cancers.
In addition to the uPARAP program, the company will build a pipeline of additional novel cancer targets ideally suited to ADC approaches.
Adcendo is a spin-out from the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet and previously part of the BioInnovation Institute’s Creation House Program.
The scientific advisory board includes John Lambert PhD, the former CSO of ImmunoGen, Vincent de Groot PhD, Founder of the ADC company Syntarga, and Murray Yule MD, PhD, Oncologist experienced in translational oncology including ADCs.