Orum adds $54M to 2019 series B to take antibody-drug conjugates for cancer into the clinic

Orum Therapeutics expects initiate clinical testing in 2022 and 2023 for solid tumors and hematological cancers, respectively. (Pixabay)

A month after adding an ex-Citi investment banker to its leadership team, Orum Therapeutics is taking a heap of new cash to the bank. 

The U.S.- and South Korea-based biotech reeled in another $54 million for its series B, which included an initial raise of $30 million in July 2019. The fresh financing will give Orum the resources to bring its antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) into the clinic for solid tumors in 2022 and for hematological cancers in 2023, the company said. 

RELATED: Orum Therapeutics bags $30M to build out its platform to drug the 'undruggable'

The protein degradation space has seen its share of startup funding in recent months, with BioTheryX inking $92 million in a series E in May and Monte Rosa snagging $95 million in March. 

Orum's ADCs are meant to specifically degrade target proteins within cancer cells through the E3 ubiquitin ligase pathway and kill tumor cells without the toxic effects typically associated with the challenge of distinguishing healthy cells from cancerous cells.

"Advances in ADC therapies have been hampered by a lack of diversity in payloads with a novel mechanism of action to inhibit tumor cell growth, and small molecule degraders do not possess tissue specificity," said Peter U. Park, Ph.D., Orum's chief scientific officer, in a statement. “The team at Orum has created a unique set of payloads that can target intracellular proteins for degradation.”

RELATED: Chutes & Ladders—Fledgling T-cell player Neogene adds Bristol Myers vet to U.S. roster

The cash infusion comes a month after Orum hired a veteran healthcare investment banker from Citi. Jae Won Kim joined as chief financial officer to drive "sustainable long-term growth," Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Orum CEO and founder, said in a statement at the time. Today's Series B was led by IMM Investment alongside new participants KDB Investment and Atinum and existing backers Intervest and KB Investment, among others.