- First patient enrolled in Phase 1 clinical study of TACH101, a small molecule, KDM4 histone demethylase inhibitor, in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors
- Tachyon also announces the appointment of Jeff Stafford, Ph.D., to the Company’s Board of Directors
SAN FRANCISCO & HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tachyon Therapeutics, Inc. ("Tachyon" or "the Company"), a private, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing transformative cancer therapies against novel targets today announced the closing of a financing that brings the Company’s total equity financing raises to $11.6 million and, together with a recently announced CIRM grant of $7.1 million, brings total funding in the Company to $18.7 million since the Company started operations in 2020. The round includes new investors, Veblen Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Red Tree Venture Capital, and existing investors, demonstrating their continued commitment to supporting Tachyon's potential. Proceeds from the financing are being used to run the Phase 1 clinical study in advanced solid tumors for TACH101, a first-in-class, small molecule, KDM4 histone demethylase inhibitor, as well as to advance the Company’s pipeline of emerging oncology drug candidates targeting previously unexplored mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
“The Tachyon team are enabling new frontiers in targeted oncology by developing cancer therapies that address fundamental drivers of tumorigenesis,” commented Heath Lukatch, Ph.D., Managing Director of Red Tree Venture Capital. “We look forward to supporting the team as they work towards transforming the treatment paradigms for advanced and metastatic solid tumors.”
“This new capital, from a committed and distinguished investor syndicate that includes new and existing investors as well as the grant from CIRM, highlights the progress we’ve made to bring our lead program into the clinic,” said Frank Perabo, M.D. Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Tachyon.
Founded on the scientific work of Drs. Stephen Quake and Michael Clarke at Stanford University, Tachyon Therapeutics is developing novel, first-in-class therapeutics that target pathways to fight cancer at its core tumorigenic mechanisms. In November 2019, Tachyon received an exclusive license to research, develop, and commercialize products for small molecule inhibitors of KDM4 including TACH101 (formerly QC8222) from Celgene Quanticel Research, Inc, now Bristol Myers Squibb, Summit, NJ. The Company recently received clearance of the Company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for TACH101 and enrolled its first patient in a Phase 1 clinical study in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT05076552).
“The start of our first clinical trial for TACH101, our lead program, is a significant milestone for the company as we strive to bring promising new therapeutics to patients who are fighting advanced cancers,” continued Dr. Perabo. “We are also pleased to welcome to our Board of Directors, Dr. Jeff Stafford, who has decades of experience in developing innovative small molecule therapeutics against novel cancer targets and led the initial discovery and development of our novel KDM4-inhibitor, TACH101.”
Dr. Stafford is the President and CEO of 858 Therapeutics. Prior to this, he was the founding CSO of Quanticel Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Celgene), where his team discovered TACH101 from a single cell genomics platform for precision targeting of cancer stem cells. Dr. Stafford has also held senior scientific and management positions at Takeda and GlaxoSmithKline and was the founding CEO of Jecure. Dr. Stafford’s discovery teams have been responsible for the discovery of three FDA-approved drugs – Votrient™ (pazopanib), Nesina™ (alogliptin), and Byfavo™ (remimazolam) – and several others currently in clinical trials.
About Tachyon Therapeutics Inc.
Tachyon Therapeutics, Inc. develops first-in-class therapeutics against novel targets from previously unexplored cancer dysregulation pathways to propel new options for the treatment of advanced cancers. Tachyon operates with a dedicated internal core development team and a virtual external network of expertise to achieve one goal – advance our programs with speed, innovation, quality and scientific integrity. For more information, please visit .
Swiss drugmaker Roche recorded impairment charges of 2.8 billion Swiss francs, or roughly $3 billion, in 2022 to account for falling sales forecasts for marketed cancer drugs as well as for gene therapies acquired via its 2019 deal for Spark Therapeutics.The charges, disclosed Thursday in the Swiss drugmakers 2022 finance report, are notably higher than the 651 million Swiss francs the company wrote off in 2021.The biggest charge came from 740 million Swiss francs worth of write-downs to the combined assets of Spark , which Roche bought for $4.8 billion. The accounting changes affected Luxturna, a marketed therapy for an uncommon, inherited form of blindness, along with experimental treatments for hemophilia A and B as well as an rare enzyme-driven disorder called Pompe disease.The reduced sales expectations are primarily a matter of delays, CEO Severin Schwan said in a conference call with analysts and investors. Timelines have moved out actually for the whole field, but we are impacted as well. So Spark is part of that.In an emailed response to questions from BioPharma Dive, a Roche spokesperson said the charges were part of the companys regular year-end process, and not reflective of any strategic change.The regular attrition rate for such projects means that a certain level of intangible asset impairment is normal, but the amounts and timing are not precisely predictable, as they depend on preclinical and clinical data and portfolio management decisions, the spokesperson said.The hemophilia A gene therapy has generated promising mid-stage data, and the company plans on advancing it into Phase 3 trials this year. (The treatment was the subject of a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into Roches acquisition of Spark due to potential overlaps with the Swiss drugmakers marketed treatment Hemlibra.)Roche doesnt disclose sales of Luxturna. The lowest-selling drug it reported sales on for 2022 was the eye treatment Susvimo, which earned 2 million Swiss francs.The company also recorded impairment charges of 663 million Swiss francs and 292 million Swss francs, respectively, on two targeted lung cancer therapies called Gavreto and Rozlytrek. Gavreto is part of a collaboration with Blueprint Medicines in which the big drugmaker paid $775 million upfront, while Roche gained access to Rozlytrek in its $1.7 billion acquisition of Ignyta.Approved in 2020, Gavreto had sales of 26 million Swiss francs in 2022. Rozlytrek, cleared in 2019, had sales of 75 million Swiss francs.Other charges came from decisions to stop drug programs that were in development following acquisitions. Those included an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment that Roche gained through the acquisition of Promedior, an immunological drug that came with the buyout of Tusk Therapeutics, and a project aimed at inflammatory disease for which Roche bought Jecure Therapeutics.Ned Pagliarulo contributed reporting '
Dive Brief:Belharra Therapeutics launched Wednesday with $130 million in hand from Versant Ventures and from a research deal with Roche subsidiary Genentech.The company claims its technology, which it describes as next-generation chemoproteomics, can help it more easily identify small molecule drug candidates for treating cancer and immune diseases.Belharra is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with its primary lab in San Diego. The startup is run by biotechnology veteran Jeff Jonker, who was previously CEO of Ambys Medicines and, before that, president of NGM Biopharmaceuticals.Dive Insight:Just a year and a half after Belharra was founded by researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company already has significant financial backing.Versant Ventures funded its $50 million Series A round, while the collaboration with Genentech will give Belharra another $80 million upfront.Jonker, who also worked at Genentech in the past, described Belharra as the third or fourth generation of companies trying to use chemoproteomics a field of research that tries to parse out how proteins interact with small molecules.Belharra is standing on the shoulders of multiple companies that have really succeeded, objectively, in the industry, Jonker said, likening the startup to precision drug developers such as Odyssey Therapeutics and Frontier Medicines.Identifying suitable binding sites on target proteins can be a challenging task for drug researchers. Proteins lacking easy footholds that small molecules can latch onto often earn reputations as being undruggable, limiting how companies can attempt to treat certain diseases. Adding to the challenge, proteins are shape-shifters, flipping between conformations that may present different binding sites not captured by traditional techniques.To screen for new drug candidates, Belharra uses what it calls photoaffinity-based chemical probes to map the interactions between small molecules and proteins. This labeling could help the company identify new druggablepockets on proteins of interest.Importantly, Belharra says its approach isnt limited by which type of amino acids are present on its target protein, opening up new opportunities.There's a reason that small molecules are having a renaissance right now, Jonker said. We have new approaches to cracking some known problems, but with a lot of biology around it.The promise of Belharras platform drew in Genentech, which previously bought Versant-backed Jecure Therapeutics.Our collaboration with Belharra gives Genentech access to a drug invention platform that allows us to interrogate important therapeutic pathways and targets that we strongly believe drive disease pathogenesis, but have proven to be inaccessible to conventional approaches, James Sabry, the global head of pharma partnering at Roche, which owns Genentech, said in a statement.Under the terms of the deal, Belharra will be responsible for discovery and early preclinical development of drug candidates in oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. After that point, Genentech will take over for later preclinical development and any subsequent clinical testing.Belharra retains an option to co-develop certain drugs chosen by Genentech through Phase 1 clinical trials. The company can co-fund the rest of development of those candidates in exchange for a split of the profits.The combined $130 million in funding gives Belharra a long runway for its research, executives said. After a roller coaster year in the biotech sector, investors across the industry have been seeking safer bets.Especially in tough markets where financings are challenging, a platform company really gives you that option to do business development and help build your platform in parallel, said Rachel Lane, a principal at Versant Ventures and Belharras interim chief business officer. '