Pfizer jumps into bed with Agomab, leading series B extension and lending support to Crohn's program

Pfizer is throwing its weight behind Agomab Therapeutics, leading a $40.5 million extension to a series B round and agreeing to provide expertise in support of a clinical-phase treatment for fibrostenotic Crohn’s disease.

The Big Pharma led Agomab’s fundraising extension through its Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative, a $500 million program it set up in 2020 to give biotechs funding and access to scientific expertise. Pfizer was joined in the latest financing by fellow new investors Walleye Capital and Asabys Partners plus some of Agomab’s existing backers. 

Agomab has been busy since holding the initial $74 million close of its series B round last year. Later in 2021, the Belgian biotech bought Origo Biopharma, adding small molecule drug candidates targeting the transforming growth factor beta to its existing prospects aimed at hepatocyte growth factor. The deal has shifted the focus of Agomab—and caught the attention of Pfizer.

Now, the biotech’s pipeline is led by AGMB-129, a gastrointestinal tract restricted ALK-5 inhibitor that is in a phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers. The asset, which Agomab sees as a possible treatment of fibrostenotic Crohn’s disease, is the biotech’s sole clinical candidate. Pfizer will share expertise to support development of the potential treatment for Crohn’s, but Agomab is retaining full rights to the candidate. 

Prior to the Origo buyout, Agomab was focused on AGMB-101. The HGF-mimetic MET receptor agonist was in preclinical studies at the time of the original series B round, which was intended to take it up to clinical proof of concept. The organ failure candidate is now joined on the HGF side of Agomab’s pipeline by the partial MET-receptor agonist AGMB-102.

Agomab’s pipeline also features a second ALK-5 inhibitor, namely lung-restricted idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis prospect AGMB-447. Like AGMB-101, the lung disease candidate is in studies leading up to a planned entry into the clinic.