According to a recent SEC filing, Aspyrian Therapeutics has raised almost $8.5 million in equity financing. The company is developing an enhanced version of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) called near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (PIT).
Aspyrian in-licensed the PIT technology form the National Cancer Institute and human monoclonal antibodies from Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRNE). In addition, Goodwin Biotechnology has been selected as CMO for cGMP manufacturing of the PIT.
The PIT technology is a combination of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and ADC technology. Photosensitizer (e.g., IR700) is conjugated to the monoclonal antibody with stable linkers. Cell death is induced only after antibody binding to cell-surface antigens, and after tumor localized activation of the photosensitizer with near-infrared light.
The combination of selective binding to cell-surface antigens and organ localized NIR activation has the potential to avoid the dose-limiting adverse effects of conventional toxin-loaded ADCs. Another desirable feature of PIT is that it also emits a diagnostic fluorescence indicating the cancer tissues.
Aspyrian’s PIT targeting EGFR are currently in preclinical development. Early stage clinical data are expected at the end of this year.
 Nat Med. 2011, 17(12), 1685-1691.