Mystery no more: Mythic Therapeutics emerges with $103M to test antibody-drug conjugates in lung cancer

Mythic Therapeutics has revealed itself with $103 million to take on what it believes to be smarter and safer antibody-drug conjugates that can be applied across indications previously untreated by the drug class. 

The nascent biotech is preferring to keep things...mythic. The Waltham, Massachusetts-based startup offered little details on the precise route it will take but did say the new financing will bankroll the first-in-human clinical trials of its lung cancer program and further build out the pipeline. 

The startup acknowledged the more than four-decade history of ADC drug development, but the biotech claimed the clinical benefit of this drug class has been constrained to "a subset of diseases and targets with optimal biological characteristics."

The difficulty with ADCs lies within off-target release in which the therapeutic payload causes systemic toxicity by unleashing in unintended areas and thus having less efficacy than desired, Mythic said. 

RELATED: ImmunoGen lines up FDA filing as antibody-drug conjugate shrinks tumors in pivotal trial

The ADC class received another regulatory nod in April with the FDA's approval of ADC Therapeutics' CD19-targeted blood cancer med Zynlonta. And more are potentially on the way. ImmunoGen plans to ask the agency to approve its ovarian tumor ADC mirvetuximab soravtansine in the first quarter of 2022. 

Mythic emerged on Wednesday as a four-year-old biotech with financing from Viking Global Investors, Venrock, Foresite, Perceptive and Highside. The company previously raised about $23.5 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings from last August. 

Mythic is led by CEO Alex Nichols, Ph.D., a co-founder of Repertoire Immune Medicines, the Flagship Pioneering startup formerly known as Cogen Therapeutics. Nichols co-founded Mythic with Chief Scientific Officer Brian Fiske, Ph.D., who also was previously at Flagship and co-founded Ohana Biosciences and KSQ Therapeutics.

Rounding out the leadership team is Chief Operating Officer Sandra Poole, who joined in July 2020 after serving in the same role at LogicBio Therapeutics. Poole previously spent more than 15 years at Genzyme and Sanofi. 

RELATED: ADC Therapeutics scores FDA approval for anti-CD19 blood cancer med Zynlonta

Czech biotech Sotio raised $316 million earlier this month in one of the largest European biotech funding rounds ever to bankroll tests of multiple assets, including an ADC in gastric and pancreatic cancers. The drug class still has its challenges in the clinic, as Daiichi Sankyo found out in October when the company announced "no clear response" to its gastrointestinal stromal tumor ADC in an early stage study.