Aglaia Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup developing new therapies that can overcome resistance to current targeted therapies in cancer patients, has completed a EUR4 million (USD4.7 million) seed funding round.
Advent France Biotechnology (AFB) led the round, with the participation of Crédit Mutuel Innovation and Pierre Fabre. AFB also acted as co-founder, with Alejo Chorny, current operating partner at AFB, now appointed chief operating officer (COO) of Aglaia Tx. Leading European cancer centres Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy participated in the creation of the company.
The proceeds of the funding will be used to prepare the preclinical development program required to identify the first candidate. Aglaia Tx aims to develop promising new oncology therapies with the goal of delivering best- and first- in class drugs that can restore sensitivity to current targeted therapies in cancer patients that became resistant to these treatments. The company established a pipeline of small molecules in oncology targeting the initiation of mRNA translation.
While targeted therapies have clearly improved cancer patient outcomes, global efficacy of these treatments decreases over time, with patients rapidly developing resistance to therapies. Moreover, even with therapies that lead to a complete response, small populations of cancer cells often survive treatments, driving cancer relapse, which remains one of the most challenging obstacles to effective treatments.
“Our goal is to dramatically improve the standard of care in cancer patients; by restoring sensitivity and avoiding resistance to current targeted therapies. We have assembled a strong team of drug developers, scientists and investors,” says Alejo Chorny, COO of Aglaia Therapeutics. “With this seed investment, Aglaia Therapeutics is extremely well positioned to advance its preclinical programs in the coming years and select its first innovative program.”
“Aglaia Tx is a good example of our entrepreneur-investor approach and we firmly believe that its work opens up the possibility of tackling relapses, one of the main unmet medical needs in cancer treatment today,” says Matthieu Coutet, managing partner at AFB. “We are thrilled to bring together two leading European cancer institutes, Gustave Roussy and Institut Curie; to collaborate on this unique startup creation aimed at overcoming resistance in oncology targeted therapies.”
A collaboration between Aglaia Therapeutics, Gustave Roussy, Institut Curie and the University of Strasbourg, for the validation of targets involved in certain types of cancer, will allow the startup to keep working with the research and clinical teams of Pr Caroline Robert, Dr Stéphan Vagner and Dr Laurent Desaubry.