AsciepiX Therapeutics Inc., has announced the receipt of $35 million Series A financing led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund. The proceeds of the funding will be focused on Phase 1/2a clinical trials of treatments for diabetic macular edema (DME), wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO). The experimental drug candidates have a dual mechanism of action targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Tie2 (angiopoietin-1 receptor). The lead candidate, AXT107, inhibits VEGF-A and VEGF-C and activates Tie2 for several of the retinal disorders.
AsclepiX uses computational biology to identify peptide regulators of vascular homeostasis to focus on retinal and oncologic diseases. The company is aimed to building clinical candidate peptides discovered by mining the human proteome for peptide sequences to identify novel anti-angiogenic peptides. According to the researchers in the company, anti-angiogenic peptide sequences use a wide array of protein types to target drug candidates including structural proteins, pro-angiogenic proteins, chemokines, metalloproteases, and growth hormones. Several peptides are currently aimed at testing in vitro assays to show inhibited neovascularization in ocular models and researcher’s goal is to progress their pipeline studies into clinical trial research. The lead drug uses AXT107 as a synthetic 20-mer peptide derived from non-collagenous sequences of the collagen IV protein, normally released during the wound healing process to turn off angiogenesis. Anti-VEGF approvals for several ocular treatments have shown clear therapeutic benefit and these class of treatments has now spurned new multiple commercial opportunities.
Commenting on the funding investment, Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Chair of the AsclepiX Board stated, “We are excited to welcome Perceptive Advisors and their PXV Fund in leading this financing and look forward to benefiting from their deep expertise and track record in identifying promising new therapeutics in which to invest. This investment represents a watershed moment for AsclepiX and provides transformative support for our vision to revolutionize the therapy of retinal disease and ultimately apply our computational technology platform to the discovery of novel clinically active molecules.”