Basel-based Cellestia Biotech has closed a €18M Series B financing round to help progress its first-in-class, targeted cancer drug to the clinic.
The Swiss company is focusing on treating cancers that have a mutation in the Notch pathway, a group of proteins that helps cells communicate with each other. Many cancers have mutations in these proteins, for example, some types of T-cell leukemia, breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancer.
The round was led by Asian healthcare and life science investors FC Capital and Partners Investment, based in Shanghai and Seoul, respectively, as well as international investor the PPF group. It brings the total investment in the company up to €45M, including an €18M series A round that closed at the end of last year.
Cellestia’s drug candidate is currently being tested in a phase I trial in patients with blood cancers and solid tumors that have mutations in the Notch pathway. The biotech plans to use the money from the fundraising to progress this candidate to a phase II trial, as well as to finance company operations and internal R&D.
While there are other drugs being developed to target cancers with Notch mutations by big pharma such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche, many cause gastrointestinal side effects. Cellestia’s drug candidate is an oral, small molecule that prevents the Notch protein from being produced at a later stage in the process than other similar drugs, which the company believes should result in reduced side effects for the patients.
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