Palleon Pharmaceuticals Raises $100 million Series B to Develop Drugs Targeting Glycan-Mediated Immune Regulation to Treat Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases
Lead program Sialidase-Fc, an enzymatic sialoglycan degrader, is expected to enter clinical testing in 2021 in patients with advanced cancers that have an immunosuppressive tumor glycan profile
WALTHAM, Mass., September 17, 2020 — Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a company pioneering the field of glycan-mediated immune regulation to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases, today announced the completion of a $100 million Series B financing led by Matrix Capital Management, with participation from Series A investors SR One, Pfizer Ventures, Vertex Ventures HC, Takeda Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures, as well as new investor Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company).
Glycobiology is an emerging field that has long been hampered by scientific complexity and a lack of enabling technologies. However, recent technical advances have led to the recognition of its dominant role in immune regulation. It is now understood that immune cell activation and suppression is influenced by previously undetectable cell surface glycan patterns, and that pathologic glycosylation drives immune system dysfunction in a range of diseases. For example, tumors develop distinct surface patterns of sialic acid-containing glycans, or sialoglycans, which bind to immune checkpoint receptors called Siglecs, resulting in suppression of all the critical innate and adaptive immune cells responsible for tumor destruction. The pan-immune aspect of sialoglycan-mediated immune evasion suggests that targeting this axis could be a very effective approach to cancer immunotherapy in patients who are resistant to existing therapies. Conventional therapeutic approaches are not feasible, however, due to substantial redundancy in the biology, as there are over a dozen Siglec receptors and many sialoglycan ligands that bind to each of them.
Palleon is advancing a suite of platform technologies that uniquely enable drug development in glyco-immunology. The company is building a robust pipeline of first-in-class drug candidates to address several devastating diseases. Palleon’s EAGLE platform employs a novel strategy of enzymatic sialoglycan degradation which overcomes intractable biological redundancy and enables a uniquely pan-immune anti-tumor response to address patient populations who are resistant to first generation immuno-oncology drugs. Palleon’s HYDRA translational platform characterizes cancer patients by their tumor surface glycan profile to identify populations who have tumors that utilize this mechanism. Palleon’s lead program, Sialidase-Fc is an enzymatic sialoglycan degrader that will enter clinical testing in 2021 in cancer patient populations defined by an immunosuppressive tumor glycan profile. In addition, Palleon is developing a broad pipeline of drug candidates that target individual Siglecs and other glycan-sensing receptors that may have applications in inflammatory diseases such as autoimmunity and fibrosis. The Series B funding will be used to advance Palleon’s pipeline of drug candidates to human clinical trials.
Jim Broderick, MD, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Palleon, commented, “We are very excited to work with Matrix Capital Management as we advance our pipeline of novel therapeutics to the clinic, and we are most grateful for the continued support and commitment of our existing investors. Glycan-mediated immune regulation presents an enormous opportunity for novel therapeutics to treat a range of diseases characterized by immune system dysfunction, including cancer and inflammatory diseases. Palleon is committed to understanding and fully exploiting this mechanism of immune regulation for the benefit of patients who suffer from these deadly and debilitating conditions.”
Karan Takhar, Managing Director at Matrix Capital Management, added, “Palleon’s team of expert scientists, broadly enabling platform technologies, strong preclinical progress, and extensive intellectual property portfolio have positioned the company to be the leader in the emerging field of glycan-mediated immune regulation. We look forward to working together to develop new medicines that can meaningfully improve patients’ lives.”
About Palleon Pharmaceuticals
Palleon Pharmaceuticals is the leading biotechnology company developing drugs that target glycan-mediated immune regulation to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. The company’s proprietary platforms integrate technologies and insights from global scientific leaders in the glyco-immunology field to overcome historical scientific hurdles and create novel therapeutics for devastating diseases characterized by immune system dysfunction. Palleon’s lead program in oncology, an enzymatic sialoglycan degrader, is expected to enter clinical testing in 2021. The company has several other drug discovery programs underway in disease areas where glycan-mediated immune regulation plays a role, including inflammatory diseases such as autoimmunity and fibrosis. Palleon was launched in 2015. Learn more at www.palleonpharma.com.
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