Endeavor bags $132.5M series C, extending runway for clinical-stage fibrosis drugs through 2026

Endeavor BioMedicines is $132.5 million richer, courtesy of another nine-digit financing round that plows additional cash runway through 2026.

The new financing, announced Wednesday, adds momentum for CEO John Hood, Ph.D., and the team, who are working to advance a two-asset pipeline that centers on a midstage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) drug. On its face, Endeavor seems like the kind of company that could have made a compelling case to go public, but Hood told Fierce Biotech that he wants to add a few more crossover-type investors.

In that regard, the round was a grand success. New investors include AyurMaya, an affiliate of Matrix Capital Management, along with Fidelity, Invus, SymBiosis, Velosity Capital and Woodline Partners. Hood said Endeavor set out to raise between $75 million and $100 million, but demand soared and there was as much as $250 million on the table.

The final $132.5 million amount raised was a compromise and follows a $101 million series B that closed two years ago. 

When asked whether that would tee up a possible series C extension round later this year, Hood said: “There’s no hurry.”

“We’ll put some more points on the scoreboard in the clinical trials and see what happens,” he explained in an interview with Fierce.

Lead asset ENV-101—which is designed to block a cellular wound-healing pathway known as Hedgehog—is already adding to the aforementioned scoreboard. Phase 2a data set to be presented at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting show that no patients treated with ENV-101 had signs of disease progression, compared to two given placebo, according to a presentation abstract. No treated patients had grade 3 or 4 related adverse events.

“Unlike other therapies, we see a continual improvement in lung function the entire time patients are on the drug,” he said. The plan is to launch a phase 2b trial with two cohorts: one for patients with IPF and another for patients with progressive pulmonary fibrosis. 

The additional cash will also pay for clinical testing of Endeavor’s second asset, an HER-3-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) acquired from Hummingbird Bioscience. A phase 1/2 trial is slated for the middle of the year, right around the time ENV-101 begins its phase 2b study. Hood described the drug as being a potential game changer.

“I think every ADC in five years will have the same attributes as this one,” he said. 

As for the rest of the pipeline, Hood said the biotech is “always looking for additional assets” but that needle-moving drugs are not a dime a dozen. In fact, Endeavor screened more than 150 assets before selecting the HER-3 ADC, according to the CEO. 

“We're not going to bring something in just to bring it in,” Hood said. “But if it's something that's really going to make a difference … we’ll do it.”