Aspyrian raises $8.5 million to develop super antibody-drug conjugates

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[1]. 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.

[1] Nat Med. 2011, 17(12), 1685-1691.

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