Belgian biotech Precirix snags $88M to bankroll radiopharmaceuticals in HER2-positive cancers

Precirix, spun out of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2014, wants to go after well-validated and "very hot" targets with its radiopharmaceuticals. Eight years into the journey, the Belgian biotech has secured 80 million euros ($87.9 million) to bankroll its mission. 

Radiopharmaceuticals are a class of drugs that contain radioactive isotopes. Those radioisotopes are carried by the treatments to receptors on tumors in the hopes that they'll kill cancers.

The funds will help cover the biotech's first clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical, bankroll two assets nearing human studies and support a staff expansion in the U.S., CEO Ruth Devenyns told Fierce Biotech in an interview. The biotech is trying to apply single-domain antibody learnings from its founder, VUB, toward radiopharmaceuticals.

The first drug, dubbed CAM-H2, entered a phase 1/2 clinical trial in Canada in the fourth quarter of last year, Devenyns said, noting the compound is being tested in patients with HER2-positive breast and gastric cancers. Precirix has completed the first dose and is moving toward the second of four doses in the study, she said. Dose escalation will wrap up by the end of the year, the CEO added.

Precirix is also "very well advanced" with a second compound that could enter a trial next year, Devenyns said. The indication is a "very hot, very much actively sought after target in radiopharmaceutical development," she said. Devenyns joined in September 2017 after helping sell another Belgian biotech, GPCR specialist Ogeda, to Astellas for $534 million upfront in April of that year.

With the new funds, Precirix will also hire clinical activity-focused employees in the U.S., Devenyns said. Leaders on the financing side could also be added, she said. The startup previously raised 37 million euros in a November 2018 series A under its original name, Camel-IDS.

The company joins a group of other recent radiopharma financings. Curie Therapeutics raised $75 million in December 2021, Shasqi secured $50 million in November and Crinetics spun out Radionetics with 10 non-peptide-targeted radiopharmaceuticals in October. 

Precirix raised the new funds from Jeito Capital, INKEF Capital and Forbion.