NEW YORK – Elicio Therapeutics said on Wednesday it has raised $73 million in a Series B financing round and that it will use the funds to advance its lead candidate, ELI-002, into clinical trials this year.
The company did not disclose specific investors that contributed to this funding round, but said the financing came from an "international investor base, including multiple strategic and institutional investors."
Elicio is currently focused on ELI-002, which it is developing as a vaccine that can potentially treat and prevent recurrence of cancers driven by KRAS mutations. Elicio plans to begin a Phase I/II clinical trial of ELI-002 in early 2021.
ELI-002 combines an Amphiphile-CpG adjuvant with AMP KRAS-mutated peptides and is designed to target 97 percent of KRAS mutations that drive cancer. This feature differentiates ELI-002 from other KRAS inhibitors under investigations that target the most common KRAS mutations, according to the firm.
"We've demonstrated improvements in multiple tumor and infectious disease models that highlight how targeting immunogens and cell-therapy activators to lymph nodes amplifies antibody and especially T cell-mediated immune responses," Christopher Haqq, Elicio's chief medical officer, said in a statement. "Amphiphile technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we treat cancers and infectious diseases."
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Elicio has conducted preclinical and investigational new drug application-enabling studies of ELI-002 in pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and other solid tumors. Last April, Elicio began a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute to explore T-cell responses to ELI-002 in animals.
The company presented data from a study of ELI-002 in mice at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer's Annual Meeting last November. That data confirmed that ELI-002 induced mutated KRAS-specific T cells after being delivered to the lymph nodes and that the T cells demonstrated cytolytic activity against mutated KRAS-presenting target cells.