Pandion Therapeutics, which is developing targeted immune modulator drugs, emerged from stealth mode with a $58 million series A.
Anthony Coyle, formerly a senior vice president at Pfizer and global head of biologics at MedImmune, signed on as CEO, while Jo Viney, who previously headed drug discovery and immunology research at Biogen, joined as chief scientific officer.
“The funding will allow us to take compounds into the clinic, through that initial proof of concept and clinical efficacy study in humans,” Coyle said. Pandion will first target inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune liver disease, before expanding into autoimmune kidney disorders and Type 1 diabetes.
Pandion expects to advance the pipeline, move into the clinic and demonstrate clinical efficacy over the next several years, Coyle said.
“Pandion is positioned to shift the paradigm for treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as transplant recipients by developing therapeutic antibodies that act at the local site of disease, offering the potential for significantly improved therapeutic options beyond systemic immunosuppressive treatments,” said Alan Crane, entrepreneur partner at Polaris Partners, which founded and ponied up the initial seed funding for Pandion, in a statement. Polaris co-led the series A alongside Roche Venture Fund and Versant Ventures.
Immunosuppressive treatments are used to dampen inappropriate inflammatory responses in autoimmune and inflammatory disease, but have obvious side effects such as an increased risk of infection or cancer.
Pandion is looking to shift away from the systemic approach and create drugs that regulate the immune system in a localized manner to restore immune homeostasis, Coyle said. These drugs could drive more patients into disease remission and provoke a more durable response, he said.
The company’s tech is built to design bispecific antibodies that bind to specific tissues at local sites of inflammation. The concept is translated from the immuno-oncology space, Coyle said, where tumors are observed to disarm the immune system to avoid being recognized and attacked.
As for why Coyle and Viney left pharma to cofound Pandion, “Jo and I got really excited about the science,” Coyle said. They look forward to translating insights from immuno-oncology into particular targets, pathways and mechanisms in the autoimmune and inflammatory disease space, Coyle said.