Arix Bioscience Co-leads $58 million Series A investment round for VelosBio
- Arix co-leads a $58 million Series A investment in new Group Business, VelosBio Inc., bringing core portfolio1 to 15 companies
- Arix commits $11 million (£8.4 million)2 for 11.2% ownership stake
- Co-investment with strategic partner Takeda and leading venture capital investors
- Arix further strengthens position in oncology; investment in VelosBio increases oncology portfolio3 to 5
LONDON, 1 October 2018: Arix Bioscience plc (LSE: ARIX) (“Arix” or the “Company”), a global healthcare and life science company supporting medical innovation, today announces that it has invested in new Group Business, VelosBio Inc. (“VelosBio”), a next-generation oncology company, developing novel antibody-drug conjugates (“ADCs”) to treat haematological cancers and solid tumours. As part of the financing, Arix has committed to invest $11 million (£8.4 million) for an 11.2% stake on a fully diluted basis. Arix Investment Director, Mark Chin, will join the VelosBio board of directors.
The financing was co-led by new investors Arix and Sofinnova Ventures and included Pappas Ventures and Chiesi Ventures, as well as existing investors Takeda Ventures, Inc and Decheng Capital. Proceeds from the financing will be used to complete nonclinical development and advance the company's lead programmes into clinical studies.
Arix has built a diverse oncology portfolio that covers a range of different therapeutic modalities including CAR-T, DNA damage response / synthetic lethality, bi-specific antibodies, and targeted viruses. Arix’s position in oncology is further strengthened by the investment into VelosBio, extending its oncology investments into ADCs.
ADCs are a new class of highly potent drugs designed as a targeted therapy for the treatment of people with cancer. In contrast to traditional chemotherapeutic drugs, ADCs only target cancer cells so that healthy cells are less affected.
VelosBio has a highly experienced leadership team, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dave Johnson, the former CEO of Acerta Pharma, which developed the approved blood cancer treatment, CALQUENCE (acalabrutinib), acquired by AstraZeneca for up to $7 billion in 2015. Prior to Acerta, Mr. Johnson contributed to the development and commercialisation of numerous approved global oncology agents holding roles of increasing responsibility in Clinical Development, Medical Affairs, Pipeline Development, and Commercial at Roche, Immunex (acquired by Amgen), Millennium (acquired by Takeda), Gloucester (acquired by Celgene), and Calistoga (acquired by Gilead Sciences).
VelosBio’s Executive Vice President of Development and Chief Medical Officer, Langdon Miller, MD, is an accomplished drug development expert with over 25 years of experience in the design and conduct of translational and clinical drug development programmes in oncology and orphan diseases. Trained as a medical oncologist at Stanford University, he has held senior leadership positions at the National Cancer Institute, Pharmacia Corporation, PTC Therapeutics, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, and Gilead, and has played a major role in the regulatory approvals of multiple clinically and commercially successful cancer therapeutics.
Joe Anderson, Chief Investment Officer of Arix, commented: “Cancer emerges through multiple molecular and cellular pathways and accordingly needs to be tackled with multiple therapeutic tools. Our strategy in oncology is to support a diverse portfolio of companies using novel and differentiated approaches to treat cancer and improve patient outcomes. VelosBio is led by an exceptional team developing a novel, high potential approach to the targeted killing of cancer cells. It is great to see such a strong syndicate come together to support the Series A, including leading venture capital groups and our strategic partner Takeda. We look forward to working with the VelosBio leadership team and our co-investors to help accelerate the development of this exciting company.”
David Johnson, CEO of VelosBio, commented: “We are delighted with the strong support for the Series A financing from Arix, as well as our existing and new investors. The proceeds from the Series A will enable us to drive VelosBio’s business forward ambitiously as we approach our next stage of growth and development. VelosBio will also be strengthened by Arix’s extensive global networks and deep industry knowledge, and we are pleased to welcome Mark Chin to the Board.”