Quiet upstart BioClin Therapeutics has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round, taking its total to $59 million since its founding, as it aims to push on with clinical work on its bladder cancer candidate B-701 that includes a combo test with Roche’s new PD-L1 med.
Its latest round was led by perennial investors Sofinnova Ventures as well as Ysios Capital, and also saw existing investors HealthCap, Life Sciences Partners, and Tekla Capital Management stump up the cash.
The biotech, which has not been overly communicative (its last formal PR was back in 2015), is working on a first-in-class anti-FGFR3 (fibroblast growth factor receptor 3) mAb in a phase 1/2 study in patients with metastatic bladder cancer, or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC), who have relapsed or are refractory to platinum therapy.
The biotech says that studies have shown that a number of patients with urothelial cell carcinoma overexpress FGFR3 on the tumor cell surface.
The drug is being used combo with an old chemo drug, docetaxel, and with the new funds it will also start a new trial of B-701 alongside Roche’s recently approved PDL-L1 drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab). This med was approved by the FDA for urothelial carcinoma, the most common type of bladder cancer.
And the combo tests don’t end there: B-701 is also being tested with Merck’s PD-1 Keytruda (pembrolizumab), also in in mUC patients.
Further back down the pathway, B-701 is in preclinical testing for achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism, for which the biotech says FGFR3 antagonism “may be beneficial.”
As part of the funding round Cory Freedland, PhD, of Sofinnova Ventures and Joël Jean-Mairet, PhD, of Ysios Capital, have both joined the company’s board.
Jean-Mairet said: “Over the past couple years, there has been significant scientific advancement and understanding of FGFR3 biology and bladder cancer, both for FGFR3 itself as a possible driver for metastatic bladder cancer, as well as its potential role in tumor inflammation. We are very enthusiastic about the B-701 program and its potential for enhancing the treatment effects of checkpoint inhibitors.”