Pfizer, Adage bump up Amplyx's series C to top $90 million

Amplyx is testing oral and intravenous forms of fosmanogepix in various fungal infections, including those caused by Candida, Aspergillus and rare molds. (Pixabay)

Eight months after picking up an antibody program from Novartis, Amplyx Pharmaceuticals topped up its coffers to push it through phase 2. Pfizer and Adage Capital Management got in its series C extension, bringing the round’s total to $93 million.

They join Sofinnova Investments, New Enterprise Associates, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Arix Bioscience, Pappas Capital, RiverVest Venture Partners, 3×5 Partners and BioMed Ventures, which chipped into the round’s first close in August 2017. The $67 million financing included $27 million that would be paid later, Amplyx CEO Ciara Kennedy told FierceBiotech in an email.

“The Company made a decision to combine that tranche with the new investor financing to add a total of $53M to the series C financing,” she added.

The new cash infusion will see the company to key phase 2 readouts, including results for its broad-spectrum antifungal fosmanogepix in life-threatening, invasive fungal infections, as well as for the anti-BV virus antibody Amplyx licensed from Novartis, Kennedy said. The company is testing the drug, dubbed MAU868, in in two patient groups: patients who have undergone kidney transplant and those who have received a stem cell transplant.

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Most people catch BK virus in childhood, developing symptoms like those of the common cold.

“The difference is that BK virus doesn’t get cleared by the immune system entirely. It will hide out in the epithelial cells of the kidney and never present you another challenge in your lifetime unless you become immune suppressed,” Kennedy said in a previous interview.

The dormant virus can “wake up” in people who have had organ transplants, as they need immunosuppressive drugs to stop their body from rejecting their new organ.

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Amplyx is testing oral and intravenous forms of fosmanogepix in various fungal infections, including those caused by Candida, Aspergillus and rare molds. Last September, the company revealed early data from an open-label phase 2 study showing a “high level of treatment success” based on a trio of measures in patients with candidemia, which is when Candida gets into the bloodstream.

Since then, the company has finished enrolling that study and started treating patients in two more trials. The first is studying patients with aspergillosis and infections from rare molds, and the second is studying patients with invasive candidiasis

Fosmanogepix attacks fungal cells from the inside as well as the outside. It works by blocking an enzyme called Gwt1, which works in the endoplasmic reticulum, what Kennedy calls the “manufacturing hub” of the cell. 

Fosmanogepix is suitable for tackling fungi beyond Candida because Gwt1 is “highly conserved across a broad range of fungal pathogens,” Kennedy said in a previous interview. “Most importantly, it’s not in the human body, so there’s no target-driven toxicity in patients.”