OTC News Archive
Æglea BioTherapeutics closes $12 million Series A financing
University of Texas at Austin startup is developing therapeutic enzymes for oncology
February 3, 2014
Æglea BioTherapeutics, a biotechnology company developing therapeutic enzymes for oncology, announced today that it has closed a $12 million Series A financing, co-led by Lilly Ventures and Novartis Bioventures. KBI Biopharma, Inc., will participate as a strategic partner, providing process development and manufacturing.
Æglea was created to pursue the clinical development of engineered human enzymes from the UT Austin laboratory of George Georgiou, Ph.D., Cockrell Endowed Chair Professor in the departments of chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and molecular biosciences, together with Everett Stone, Ph.D., research scientist. Both are scientific founders of Æglea.
Æglea also announced that it has obtained exclusive rights to intellectual property from The University of Texas at Austin for three engineered and optimized drug candidates that degrade the amino acids arginine, cysteine/cystine, or methionine. Treatment with these drugs is targeted to kill specific tumors exhibiting dysfunctional metabolic pathways associated with the target amino acid.
“Creating partnerships with industry that commercially develop the technology benefits the university in multiple ways, including royalty revenues and sponsored research—which in turn supports continued research and discovery. Pursuing private sources of funding is critical, and we make it a priority to foster relationships that meld our faculty research and private commercialization and development such as this,” said Dan Sharp, Associate Vice President for Research and Director, Office of Technology Commercialization at The University of Texas at Austin.
Armen Shanafelt, Ph.D., Lilly Ventures, a co-founder of the company, and Henry Skinner, Ph.D., managing director at Novartis Bioventures, have joined the Board as part of the financing. “These engineered human enzymes present a major advancement in targeting the amino acid dependency of tumors; in particular, those that exhibit genetic and epigenetic changes in amino acid metabolic pathways. Æglea has recognized that these cancer specific defects are unique therapeutic opportunities that can be exploited by therapeutically optimized enzymes that degrade the amino acid upon which the tumor critically relies,” said Shanafelt.