Y-mAbs raises $50M funding to propel cancer duo into late-stage testing

Neuroblastoma is a key focus for the three-year-old biotech.(Y-mAbs Therapeutics)

Y-mAbs Therapeutics has raised $50 million from private investors to fund late-stage trials of two antibodies—originally discovered at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK)—with potential in the treatment of rare cancers.

The New York biotech’s CEO Claus Møller, M.D., says the cash—from existing investors and new backer HBM Healthcare Investments—will “enable us to focus on bringing our lead compounds, burtomab and naxitamab, through the final steps of the regulatory pathway towards approval.”

The fundraising is the second for Y-mAbs this year after it raised $12 million in an oversubscribed offering in January, and comes after the biotech reported positive clinical results with burtomab in children with neuroblastoma and leptomeningeal (brain) metastases at this year’s ASCO conference.

Neuroblastoma is a primary focus for Y-mAbs, which was set up three and half years ago by Thomas Gad after his daughter was treated for neuroblastoma at MSK. This type of cancer mainly affects babies and young children—with around 700 cases a year in the U.S.—and typically starts in the adrenal glands but can quickly spread to other organs.

There are currently limited treatment options for patients whose cancer has spread into the brain, and both burtomab and naxitamab target cell surface antigens (respectively B7-H3 and GD2) that have emerged as promising therapeutic targets for this and other forms of cancer.

In the 80-patient burtomab trial in children with neuroblastoma brain metastases, treatment with the antibody was associated with 58 months’ average survival, compared to an average of 4.7 months and no long-term survival or cure in a comparative patient group taken from a German patient registry.

At the time, Gad said that “having witnessed this out-patient treatment first hand as a parent, these data provide a potential curative treatment addressing an unmet medical need for a life-threatening disease.”

The new funds will also give Y-mAbs the resources it needs to progress naxitamab, which is currently in phase 2 trials involving patients with neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma, as well as a portfolio of bispecific antibodies in early-stage development.

HBM’s CEO Andreas Wicki said Y-mAbs’ approach to immunotherapy “shows great promise and will further advance innovation and product development in the pediatric oncology field.”