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28 July, 2021 - 20:32 By Tony Quested

US investors lead $153m round for Artios Pharma

Artios Pharma in Cambridge has raised $153 million Series C cash to advance its portfolio of cancer drug candidates, including its Pol theta program which will enter clinical development later in 2021.

Omega Funds in Boston and TCG X in New York and California led the seminal round for the Babraham-based business.

Artios is a leading DNA Damage Response company exploiting a broad DDR-based platform and small molecule drug discovery capabilities to develop a diverse pipeline of product candidates for the treatment of cancer.

Additional investors in an oversubscribed round included Avidity Partners, Invus, Deep Track Capital, Sofinnova Partners, Tetragon Financial Group, RTW Investments LP, Soleus Capital, Piper Heartland Healthcare Capital, CaaS Capital Management, and Schroders Capital.

They join existing investors Arix Bioscience plc, SV Health Investors, Andera Partners, LSP (Life Sciences Partners), M Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, IP Group plc and Novartis Venture Fund who also continue to support Artios.

Dr Niall Martin, chief executive officer at Artios, said: “We are thrilled to have such great investors support our vision in this latest Series C fundraise co-led by Omega Funds and TCG X alongside a premier group of new and existing investors. This is an exciting time for Artios as we continue to progress our potential best-in-class ATR program in the clinic and prepare to launch our Pol theta program into first-in-human studies in the second half of 2021. 

“By ensuring that our DDR platform and pipeline programs are well-funded, we have successfully cleared a runway to execute our near-term clinical objectives.

“Having this calibre of strategic investors supporting our mission to bring next-generation DDR programs targeting hard to treat cancers to market adds further validation to Artios’ cancer-killing DDR Platform.” 

The Series C financing follows an $84m Series B raise concluded in August 2018 and yields total capital raised to date from investors and strategic partners of more than $320m. Artios is led by an experienced scientific and leadership team with proven expertise in DDR drug discovery, including the discovery and early development of the PARP inhibitor Olaparib.

It has a unique partnership with Cancer Research UK and collaborations with leading DNA repair researchers worldwide, such as The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the Crick Institute, London. 

In December 2020, Artios entered into a collaboration agreement with Merck KGaA in Germany to identify and develop precision oncology medicines targeting nucleases. 

And in April, Artios struck a similar deal with Novartis to identify DDR targets to use with Novartis’ proprietary radioligand therapies with Artios receiving a $20 million up-front payment in addition to near term research funding to support the collaboration. 

Artios is eligible to receive up to $1.3 billion in discovery, development, regulatory and sales-based milestones in addition to royalty payments. Anchored at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK, the company also has an office in New York City.

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