The Italian biotech is developing cancer drugs to treat late-stage melanoma and metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
Antibody development Philogen, which is a small biotech based in Italy, recently raised $70 million in funding to support the advance of its two lead oncology candidates, which have been in development for decades, as well as several early-phase pipeline products.
The company is focused on developing conjugated antibody drugs that allow antibody-mediated delivery of bioactive payloads to targeted sites of action, leading to reduced side effects. Philogen’s goal is to achieve “innovate ligand based pharmacodelivery” by engineering “superior antibody cytokine fusions,” according to CEO Duccio Neri.
The two lead candidates include daromun, a treatment for fully resectable late-stage melanoma, and fibromun, a cancer drug targeting metastatic soft tissue sarcoma, both of which are in phase 2 trials.
Other oncology pipeline products in early-phase studies include darleukin (L19-IL2), an immunostimulatory compound consisting of the human vascular targeting antibody L19 and the human cytokine interleukin 2 (IL-2) being studied in combination with rituximab of with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) in patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL; teleukin, a fully-human immunostimulatory ‘empowered antibody’ being studied in combination with an acute myeloid leukemia; PHC-102, a 99mTc labeled small molecule radiotracer for the non-invasive detection of carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) expressing solid tumors; and dodekin, a single-chain polypeptide consisting of the two subunits of the immunomodulatory payload IL12 fused to a human vascular targeting antibody in tandem diabody, which is at the preclinical stage.
The company also has two pipeline candidates under development for the treatment of chronic inflammation.
Philogen has established licensing and development deals in the past with Pfizer, of Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and other biopharma companies.