Exciting news from our portfolio company, Asalyxa bio. The following press release was taken from PR Newswire (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/asalyxa-bio-closes-seed-financing-to-advance-lead-program-into-first-in-human-clinical-studies-301232553.html)
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Asalyxa Bio, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing nano-engineered, immune cell-targeted therapeutics, today announced the closing of an over-subscribed seed financing round totaling more than $2 million. The financing was led by Research Bridge Partners, co-led by ID Ventures, and also included Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III, BRCC of Western Michigan University, Ann Arbor Spark, Woodward Angels and other undisclosed investors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Asalyxa Bio's lead development candidate, ASX-100, into first-in-human clinical trials.
Asalyxa Bio's drug development programs are based on the company's proprietary PANTHER technology platform, which enables the targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds directly to neutrophils and other key immune cells. Lead program, ASX-100, is a neutrophil-targeted formulation being developed for the resolution of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS is a critical health problem, affecting approximately 500,000 Americans each year. The condition frequently develops in the context of severe respiratory disease, contributing significantly to mortality in cases of COVID-19, influenza, pneumonia and other conditions. ARDS is fatal in 50% of cases and has no approved pharmaceutical treatments.
ASX-100 is a novel therapeutic formulation that targets neutrophils through their well-studied professional phagocytic function. The development candidate is designed to deliver a multi-functional, anti-inflammatory compound that attenuates the systemic innate immune responses that drive ARDS, including the dysregulated release of pro-inflammatory messengers commonly referred to as "cytokine storm." These same inflammatory mechanisms, driven by neutrophils and related myeloid immune cells, also contribute to a wide range of other severe inflammatory diseases and conditions, offering a broad range of opportunities for the company's platform and development candidates. Importantly, the company's focus on delivering its drug directly to neutrophils allows for improved pharmacodynamics and a widened therapeutic window.
The PANTHER platform is based on the research of University of Michigan professor and chief scientific officer Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso and her team, which has demonstrated the in vivo neutrophil-targeting capabilities and therapeutic potential of ASX-100 in relevant animal models. This research has supported the accelerated development of ASX-100 toward a planned first-in-human clinical study in 2021. In addition to its lead program in ARDS, Asalyxa Bio is leveraging the PANTHER platform to generate a portfolio of therapeutic formulations to transport high-value payloads directly to neutrophils and related myeloid immune cells.
As part of the financing, James Graham of Research Bridge Partners has joined the Asalyxa Bio board of directors.
"This is an exciting time for Asalyxa Bio as we approach initiation of our first-in-human clinical study of ASX-101. This seed funding will enable us to continue the rapid development of the program as we work diligently to bring a much-needed treatment to patients battling ARDS," said Marc Appel, president and CEO of Asalyxa Bio. "We are excited to welcome James to our board and thank all of our investors for their support."
"We are pleased to support Asalyxa Bio in the company's efforts to address the critical unmet need in ARDS," said Mr. Graham. "This investment is highly aligned with our focus on mid-continent innovation in the service of global health."
Ms. Patti Glaza, managing director of ID Ventures added, "Asalyxa Bio is a great example of the innovation and talent that exists in Michigan. We are proud to invest in this local startup with big potential for global impact."
About Asalyxa BioAsalyxa Bio is a drug development and platform technology company focused on novel therapeutics to treat major unmet medical needs caused by the dysregulation of immune signaling. With applications across a wide array of disease areas and conditions, Asalyxa Bio's platform technology enables delivery of existing and novel drugs directly into over-reactive immune cells. https://www.asalyxabio.com
About Research Bridge PartnersResearch Bridge Partners, a 501 (c) (3) organization, enhances the societal and economic impacts of America's research universities by bridging preeminent innovators at mid-continent institutions with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley. Founded by Isaac Barchas and Reid Hoffman, Research Bridge Partners uses proprietary data analytics to identify the nation's leading researchers and translational philanthropy to transform their scientific breakthroughs into investible companies for the benefit of people everywhere. www.researchbridgepartners.org
About ID VenturesID Ventures was created by the nonprofit Invest Detroit in 2009 to enhance its overall mission to support inclusive growth of entrepreneurial ventures. As one of few venture funds located in Detroit, ID Ventures is one of the most active early stage investors in the state and have invested in over 150 Michigan-based companies across multiple sectors including life sciences and healthcare, information technology, fintech, mobility, advanced manufacturing and materials, among others. ID Ventures invests in Michigan-based companies and oversees additional programs designed to grow and support the state's startup ecosystem. Visit www.investdetroit.vc for more information.