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iOnctura raises EUR 15 million in Series A financing to progress its pipeline into clinical development

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 23, 2020: iOnctura B.V., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, developing a pipeline of next generation molecules targeting cancer and fibrosis, announces today the closing of a EUR 15 million Series A financing. The financing was led by INKEF Capital and co-led by VI Partners with participation by new investor Schroder Adveq. iOnctura’s founding investor, M Ventures, also participated in the fundraise. iOnctura was founded in 2017 as a spin-out from Merck, with Merck and Cancer Research UK providing a best-in-class pipeline of molecules that harness both direct and immune-mediated anti-cancer activities in solid cancers and cancer fibrosis.

iOnctura will use the proceeds of the Series A to move its lead molecule IOA-244, a highly selective PI3Kδ-inhibitor, into a Phase I trial in solid tumours and its second program, IOA-289, an ATX-inhibitor, through IND enabling studies. The superior properties of IOA-244 are expected to enable iOnctura to be the first company to clinically demonstrate that highly selective PI3Kδ inhibition not only drives an immune-mediated response but also a direct anti-tumoural effect in a stratified patient population across multiple solid tumour indications.

The board of directors of iOnctura BV welcomes Fiona MacLaughlin, of INKEF Capital and Diego Braguglia of VI Partners.

Catherine Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of iOnctura, commented: “iOnctura has made significant progress with its two lead molecules which are being developed as next generation dual immune and tumour targeting therapies. We are very excited to move our first molecule into human clinical testing and accelerate our second molecule towards clinical trials.

We welcome new investors INKEF Capital, VI Partners and Schroder Adveq to iOnctura and with the continued support from our founding investor M Ventures, we look forward to taking iOnctura into the next stage of development.”

Fiona MacLaughlin, Director of INKEF Capital, said: “INKEF’s strategy is to support talented management teams developing novel treatments that address high unmet medical needs via novel scientific insights and understanding. The highly experienced executive management team led by Catherine at iOnctura have a solid track record in drug development and commercialisation. Together with the scientific contribution of its world class scientific advisory board and its research partner Cancer Research UK, iOnctura has consolidated a scientific understanding we consider to be a true and valuable differentiator.”

Hakan Goker, Chairman of iOnctura board and Executive Investment Director, M Ventures, added: “We helped found iOnctura to deliver clinical validation of emerging new biology around direct and immune mediated effects of key targets in cancer and fibrosis. The differentiated and targeted clinical approach iOnctura is using offers significant potential to treat patients with life-threatening diseases. We are excited to provide continued support to iOnctura as it advances its pipeline into the clinic.”

iOnctura’s most advanced program, IOA-244, is a clinical phase, next generation PI3Kδ inhibitor with a unique chemical structure, exquisite selectivity, excellent drug-like properties and an expected best-in-class safety profile. Its second program, IOA-289, is a novel autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor with superior potency compared to clinical-stage ATX inhibitors. IOA-289 is being developed as a first-in-class therapy for solid tumour indications that over express ATX and are burdened with cancer-associated fibrosis. IOA-289 has demonstrated anti-tumour and anti-fibrotic efficacy in preclinical models and is in advanced in vivo safety studies.

About iOnctura

iOnctura BV, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, was founded in June 2017 as a spin out from Merck and funded by M Ventures. It is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a pipeline of next generation, differentiated molecules that are at the forefront of pioneering new therapies for the treatment of cancer. Each of iOnctura’s programs harness the combined effect of immune-mediated and direct anti-tumour activity and aim to deliver molecules with superior clinical efficacy and safety in oncology.


The company’s lead program, IOA-244, will enter the clinic in Q1 2020. The study is aimed to clinically demonstrate for the first time that a highly selective PI3Kδ inhibition not only drives an immune-mediated response but also a direct anti-tumoural effect in a stratified patient population across multiple solid tumour indications. The Company’s second molecule is a novel autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor at IND stage for patients with solid tumours burdened with cancer-associated fibrosis. For more information, please visit

About INKEF Capital

INKEF Capital is an Amsterdam-based venture capital firm that focuses on long-term collaboration and active support of innovative healthcare and technology companies. INKEF Capital was founded in 2010 by Dutch pension fund ABP and with €500 million under management is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Netherlands. INKEF focuses on investment opportunities in Healthcare, Technology, IT/New Media & FinTech. For more information

About M Ventures

M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the company’s core business areas. From its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors to translate innovation towards commercial success. M Ventures has a significant focus on early stage investing and company creation, including the creation of spin-offs to leverage the company’s science and technology base. For more information, visit

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Last Updated: 24-Jan-2020