A clinical stage company developing differentiated and targeted radio-pharmaceuticals this week raised a sizeable Series B round of financing.
Vancouver-born Alpha-9 announced that its oversubscribed round saw investment from Nextech Invest, with participation from Frazier Life Sciences, Samsara BioCapital, and Quark Venture—in addition to existing investors Longitude Capital and BVF Partners.
Founded by researchers from the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer, Alpha-9 believes its work has “the potential to meaningfully improve the treatment of people living with cancer.”
“We have always believed in the company, its founders, and the potential for radiotherapies to effectively address a wide range of cancers,” said David Hirsch, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alpha-9.
Alpha-9 says it is engineering effective, bespoke radio-pharmaceuticals for the treatment of solid and hematologic malignancies.
These molecules are optimized to selectively deliver radiation to tumor sites while minimizing off-target effects, according to a statement from the company.
The Series B funding will support advancement of Alpha-9’s programs into clinical stages over the next few years while expanding its early-stage programs.
“Our team has done excellent work progressing our pipeline of novel radio-pharmaceuticals over the last year, and we are excited to have the support of these top-tier investors,” Hirsch added. “With this new investor partnership, we are well positioned to progress multiple targets into the clinic, harnessing the potential of radio-pharmaceuticals to realize more effective treatments for people living with cancer.”
Alpha-9’s systematic approach to radiotherapeutic design is fueled by a toolbox of technologies and chemistries, which offers broad potential for expansion into a multitude of oncology targets, the chief executive notes.
Leveraging “deep expertise in the modification of peptides and small molecules,” Alpha-9 tailors each component of its radio-pharmaceuticals to improve a molecule’s overall performance, a key advancement according to Melissa McCracken, Partner at Nextech Invest and Alpha-9 Board member.
“The radio-pharmaceutical field has evolved over the past several years, attributable to scientific advances, translational data, and strong clinical efficacy,” stated McCracken.
“This new generation of radio-pharmaceuticals shows improved tumour uptake with limited off-target exposure, resulting in drugs that have better safety and efficacy profiles in the clinic,” she added.
In addition to advancing the clinical pipeline, the Series B capital will enable Alpha-9 to complete the build-out of its research facilities in Vancouver.
With initial construction first announced in October, this ambitious complex will house the chemistry, biology, translational research and radiochemistry teams, as well as support product formulation.
“The fit-for-purpose facility will house chemistry, biology and radiochemistry R&D teams, and will accelerate Alpha-9’s discovery efforts for new peptide and small molecule-based radio-pharmaceuticals,” a statement read. “Planning has been underway since earlier this year and the research facilities are expected to be operational by [end of] 2023.”
Alpha-9’s B round builds on an $11 million Series A financing led by Longitude Capital last April.
The BC startup, co-headquartered in Boston and Vancouver, was founded in 2019 by François Bénard, M.D., Kuo-Shyan Lin, Ph.D., and David Perrin, Ph.D.