NEW YORK – Boston-based Ikena Oncology said on Tuesday it has raised $120 million in a Series B funding round, led by investment firm Omega Funds, that it will use to advance its pipeline, specifically its TEAD inhibitor IK-930 and a new preclinical program targeting KRAS signaling.
In addition to Omega Funds, new investors also participated in the funding round, including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Surveyor Capital, Invus, Farallon Capital Management, BVF Partners, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Logos Capital, and HealthCor Management. Existing investors Atlas Venture, OrbiMed, and Bristol Myers Squibb also joined the round. Additionally, Otello Stampacchia, managing Director of Omega Funds, will join Ikena's board of directors.
Ikena plans to file an investigational new drug application for IK-930 in the second half of 2021 and begin a Phase I clinical trial this year of the candidate in biomarker-enriched patient populations, such as those with Hippo pathway-altered tumors.
Last summer, Ikena presented data from preclinical studies of IK-930 showing that the drug inhibited cell growth in Hippo pathway-driven cancer cell lines. In animal models, the candidate was well tolerated and researchers observed anti-tumor activity in two separate Hippo pathway-mutated mesothelioma xenografts.
The company is also pursuing a small molecule inhibitor program against an undisclosed downstream target in the KRAS signaling pathway. Ikena is in the lead optimization stage of this program and will announce a development candidate in the second half of 2021 to begin IND-enabling studies.
Ikena is also developing products for colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and bladder cancer. In 2019, the company started collaborating with Celgene (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb) to develop immuno-oncology products, and gave Celgene exclusive options to license Ikena's Kynase and AHR antagonist programs.