Mural Oncology wants to paint a new picture in IL-2 after Alkermes spinout

Mural Oncology, Alkermes’ cancer spinoff, has officially landed with $275 million in funding and a mission to develop an interleukin-2 (IL-2) candidate for solid tumors.

Alkermes announced the plan to separate into two a year ago, with a spinout taking on the oncology work and the legacy company continuing in neuroscience.

The new spinout is centered around nemvaleukin alfa, which is going through two potentially registrational trials with readouts expected in the first quarter of 2025, according to a Wednesday press release. The therapy is an engineered IL-2 cytokine that Mural hopes will expand the therapeutic benefits of high-dose recombinant human IL-2 agents, which are commonly used for several types of solid tumors, without the usual toxicities.

Nemvaleukin is being tested in mucosal melanoma alone and in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer in combination with Merck & Co.’s Keytruda. The spinout also has a handful of discovery-stage programs in IL-18 and IL-12 for proinflammatory cytokines.

Top-line results for both nemvaleukin trials are expected in the first quarter of 2025. Mural also intends to declare other product candidates from the discovery-stage programs in 2024.

Leading the new company is Caroline Loew, Ph.D., who previously held the top role at Glympse Bio and before that served as head of R&D strategy and planning at Bristol Myers Squibb. Vicki Goodman, M.D., will fill the role of chief medical officer. She was previously executive vice president, product development and medical affairs, and chief medical officer at Exelixis.

Detailed financial terms were not provided, but Mural will have the $275 million in committed funding, which is projected to provide a cash runway into the fourth quarter of 2025.

Meanwhile, Alkermes has continued with commercializing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug Lybalvi.