Artax Biopharma, a Cambridge, MA-based clinical stage biotechnology company, raised $26M in funding.
The round was led by Eli Lilly and Company and Sound Bioventures with participation from Advent Life Sciences, Columbus Venture Partners, and Belinda Termeer and other shareholders.
The company intends to use the funds to develop AX-158, its first oral small molecule immunomodulating agent.
Led by Joseph Lobacki, Chief Executive Officer, Artax Biopharma is a clinical-stage biotechnology company transforming T Cell-mediated disease treatment by developing innovative small molecules that modulate the immune system. Artax science holds broad potential to treat T Cell-mediated diseases such as autoimmune diseases; induced T cell pathologies (such as acute graft-versus-host disease and immune-oncology treatment-related adverse events); and T Cell malignancies, while simultaneously allowing the body to fight foreign pathogens.
AX-158 is a first-in-class, oral small molecule immunomodulating agent in clinical development for the treatment of T Cell-mediated diseases. It employs a first-in-class mechanism of action that selectively modulates inappropriate T cell activation, a cause of autoimmune disease. AX-158 has the potential to treat T Cell-mediated diseases without the risk of immunosuppression. Artax’s ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial is assessing the safety, exposure, and pharmacokinetics of AX-158 in healthy volunteers and includes ex vivo stimulated measures of its pharmacodynamic activity. In preclinical studies, AX-158 demonstrated potential to treat T Cell-mediated diseases by decreasing key cytokines including INFγ, TNFα, IL-2, IL-1 and IL-6 in whole human blood samples.