Alentis Therapeutics, a biotech pursuing a novel target as a way of treating fibrosis and cancer, has raised $105 million for clinical trials in both.
The focus of Alentis’s drug research is Claudin 1 (CLDN1), a member of the tight junctions family of proteins. These proteins are found in the cells that line blood vessels, as well as the cells that cover body surfaces and line hollow organs. Too much production of CLDN1 can cause signaling in organs that lead to disease. Basel, Switzerland-based Alentis aims to block CLDN1 with antibody drugs.
Lead Alentis program ALE.F02 is in development as a treatment for fibrosis, a thickening of tissue or the formation of scar tissue that can lead to severe organ damage. In January, Alentis reported positive data from a Phase 1 study that tested ALE.F02 in 40 healthy volunteers. According to the results, the drug was safe and well tolerated. It also showed signs of on-target biological activity. With the new financing, Alentis now plans to advance this program to Phase 2 testing in patients with advanced kidney, lung, and liver fibrosis.
The capital will also support plans Alentis’s cancer research with another program, ALE.C04. A planned Phase 1 test will enroll patients with tumors positive for CLDN1. The Alentis pipeline includes an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) in preclinical development for CLDN1-positive tumors. The company is also developing a next-generation CLDN1 platform that it describes as offering an “enhanced mechanism of action.” This research is also preclinical and specific disease indications remain undisclosed.
“There are huge unmet needs in organ fibrosis and cancer, and this funding enables us to continue with the important work we’re doing in the CLDN1 space and generate clinical data from both our programs,” Alentis CEO Roberto Iacone said in a prepared statement. “We can now aggressively develop CLDN1 biology in oncology and continue with the recruitment of our organ fibrosis trials while advancing our ADC and bi-specific antibodies.”
Alentis was founded in 2019 based on research from the laboratory of Thomas Baumert, a professor of medicine at the University of Strasbourg and the French National Institute of Health. Prior to the Thursday’s funding announcement, the company’s most recent financing was a $67 million Series B round in 2021.
The Series C round of financing was led by Jeito Capital, Novo Holdings, and RA Capital Management. Other participants in the financing include BB Pureos Bioventures, Bpifrance, and Schroders Capital.
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