KAHR, a cancer immunotherapy company developing novel multifunctional immuno-recruitment proteins, today announced the first closing of an investment round raising $46.5 million. The financing was led by aMoon with participation from new investors BVF Partners LP, DAFNA Capital Management LLC, Peregrine Ventures, Shavit Capital and the Cancer Focus Fund. Existing investors also participated in this financing, including Flerie Invest AB, Oriella Limited (CBG, chaired by Vincent Tchenguiz), Pavilion Capital, Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd (HBL) and Mirae Asset.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance clinical development of the Company’s lead product candidate, DSP107, a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting fusion protein for the treatment of solid and blood cancers, through multiple Phase 1/2 studies as well as the development of its preclinical pipeline including DSP502, a TIGITxPD1 fusion protein, and DSP216, a LILRB2xSIRPa fusion protein, through IND-enabling studies.
“The successful financing round of this respected syndicate of investors is a testament to our breakthrough technology platforms and promising next-generation multifunctional, immunotherapeutic pipeline,” said Yaron Pereg, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of KAHR. “Cancer treatment is challenging in that cancer cells continuously change and develop resistance to existing treatments. Another notable hurdle is the ability of cancer cells to evade recognition and elimination by the body’s own immune system. Our novel, multi-pronged product candidates are specifically designed to address these challenges by unmasking cancer cells for immune recognition, and at the same time, providing signals to effectively trigger a targeted synergistic activation of anticancer immunity.”
“Our unique approach positions us in the forefront of cancer immunotherapy, and through this financing we can continue to advance our clinical asset and accelerate our preclinical projects into clinical development across multiple cancer indications for the benefit of patients who are non-responsive or refractory to existing immunotherapies,” added Dr. Pereg.
Gur Roshwalb, MD, Partner, aMoon, said, “KAHR’s multifunctional immunotherapeutic platform has enormous potential to address unmet needs in immuno-oncology. We are particularly excited about KAHR’s differentiated first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound, which potentially harnesses both the innate and adaptive immune systems to target solid and hematologic tumors.”
KAHR develops smart immune-recruitment cancer drugs that activate a targeted immune response by converting cancer camouflage into beacons for the immune system to attack. The Company’s lead product candidate, DSP107 is a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound that simultaneously binds cancer cells and immune cells, linking them together for maximal activation of the immune system against the tumor. DSP107 is designed to weaken the tumor’s defenses on one hand, and activate an effective, local response of both innate and adaptive immunity on the other hand. Specifically, DSP107 binds to and inhibits CD47, an immune checkpoint protein overexpressed in many cancer types that enables the tumor to evade immune recognition and attack. Simultaneously, DSP107 binds 41BB on T-cells, stimulating their activation. These activities lead to targeted immune activation through both macrophage and T-cell mediated tumor destruction.
DSP107 is currently being tested in a Phase 1/2 multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation and expansion study assessing the safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of DSP107 as a monotherapy and in combination with Roche’s PD-L1-blocking checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq®) in patients with advanced solid tumors. In addition, KAHR expects to initiate an open label, dose escalation and expansion Phase 1/2 study to evaluate the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of DSP107 as monotherapy and in combination with azacytidine or with azacytidine plus venetoclax in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and T-cell lymphoproliferative diseases in the coming months.
Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and Solebury Capital acted as placement agents for the offering.