Israeli biotech NeoTX lands $45M series C for combo I-O cancer trials

NeoTX Therapeutics has nabbed a healthy $45 million third funding round as it looks to continue work on its early-stage cancer combo test and in-license new tech.

The Rehovot, Israel-based biotech is working on a Selective T cell Redirection (STR) platform for its oncology immunotherapies and now brings its total funding haul to $60 million.

NeoTX plans said in a brief update that it plans to use the series C proceeds to advance its STR platform “for the treatment of advanced and metastatic solid tumors as well as to in-license new technologies.”

Naptumomab estafenatox (aka Nap) is the lead compound in NeoTX’s STR platform and is designed to target the 5T4 antigen, which the biotech says is present on “many tumors.” The experimental drug was licensed from Active Biotech four years ago after it failed to help kidney cancer patients and was ditched by its original owner.

NeoTX is hoping it can brush off this flop and combine it with the right therapy to kick-start it into action. Part of the cash will be used for its ongoing, open-label phase 1 of Nap in combination with AstraZeneca’s checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab) in solid tumors that have spread.

The trial started last year, and it “aims to establish the maximum tolerated dose in the dose-escalation Phase 1b study before advancing to a cohort expansion study.”

When first working on STR, Active Biotech said the platform in preclinical tests could boost the anti-tumor activity of checkpoint inhibitors (such as Imfinzi) and can “lead to long-lasting immunity against the tumor.” Studies will now try to prove this.

“With the funds raised in this financing, we intend to complete the dose escalation phase of the Phase 1b trial of Nap in combination with durvalumab and continue to develop our patented STR platform,” said Asher Nathan, CEO of NeoTX.

“Our platform, which uniquely leverages the body’s natural antibacterial immune response to selectively redirect T cells to kill the tumor, has the potential to be applicable in a variety of solid tumor indications and in combination with other immunotherapies. We look forward to the clinical advancement of Nap and expanding our platform in order to provide new options to patients suffering from advanced cancers.”