Convergent Therapeutics has circled up $90 million to develop next-gen radiopharmaceuticals in oncology, with its lead clinical program targeting prostate cancer.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech’s series A was led by OrbiMed and RA Capital Management and included participation from Invus. The new funds will go toward building out a pipeline of radioantibodies and moving forward CONV01-α, a monoclonal antibody designed to bind to prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). The antibody is then supposed to be internalized and deliver a radioactive payload to the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
The Ac-225 radioantibody is Convergent’s sole pipeline candidate and is being assessed in a phase 1 single ascending dose trial. There currently aren’t any approved Ac-225 radioantibodies on the market for prostate cancer.
Convergent is also looking at other radioantibody targets in oncology and is exploring in-licensing and pipeline acquisition opportunities, according to a May 3 release.
The biotech emerged in 2020 from co-founders Philip Kantoff, M.D., and Neil Bander, M.D. Kantoff helms the biotech as CEO while Bander serves as chief scientific adviser.
Both leaders have years of experience in oncology, specifically in prostate cancer research. The company’s tech was developed by Bander and licensed from Cornell University, where he’s a professor. The scientist and his colleagues were the first to validate PSMA as a cancer target and continue to work to advance PSMA-directed imaging and therapeutics. Convergent chief Kantoff has held leadership positions at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and has made academic contributions for multiple prostate cancer treatments that ultimately snagged FDA approval.
The radiopharmaceuticals space has seen a fair amount of activity recently. A few weeks ago, Abdera Therapeutics emerged with $142 million in combined series A and B funding to advance a fleet of radiopharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, Big Pharma Novartis has been hot on the scene, touting radiopharmaceuticals as a large part of its cancer strategy. At the end of April, the company doled out $40 million cash plus $425 million in biobucks for exclusive licensing rights to 3B Pharmaceuticals’ cancer-targeting radiotherapy tech. The 3BP pact was Novartis’ second radiopharmaceuticals deal inked in a month, including an agreement with Bicycle Therapeutics weeks before. The deal focuses on developing radio-conjugates for multiple undisclosed oncology targets and could make Bicycle up to $1.7 billion.