The funding, led by Versant Ventures, with participation from New Enterprise Associates and Cormorant Asset Management, supports Nexo’s platform that combines covalent ligand discovery and chemical biology to unlock novel cancer treatments targeting challenging disease drivers.
“For many cancer patients, there are no therapies that target the fundamental drivers of their disease,” says Andrew Phillips, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Nexo.”
“Leveraging covalent chemistry and chemical biology innovations, Nexo aims to address this unmet need and provide new treatment options. Their expertise in cancer biology and medicinal chemistry will efficiently advance therapies, benefiting patients with limited therapeutic choices,” added Dr. Andrew.
Overcoming Hurdles in Oncology Targets
Numerous enticing oncology targets pose considerable challenges to conventional ligand discovery approaches, thereby limiting selectivity optimization and pharmacology. However, Nexo’s platform systematically addresses these issues with its chemistry engine, CODON (Covalent Discovery and Optimization).
CODON’s proprietary library employs chemical diversity and innovative covalent chemistries, identifying promising hit compounds and enabling rapid optimization for in vivo studies. Notably, CODON uses covalent fragments against all ligandable amino acids, expanding beyond conventional approaches and broadening the scope of potential targets.
Complementing CODON, Nexo’s chemical biology capability, INFINI-T (Informed Profile Before Initiation of Target), uses chimeric fusion proteins to study target biology and pharmacology.
These proteins’ functions can be controlled by small molecules in cellular and in vivo models, generating valuable insights into target inhibition depth, duration, and selectivity.
The INFINI-T platform provides target product profiles well before lead optimization, streamlining drug development and accelerating progress toward clinical trials.
Strategic Collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center
Nexo has also formed a multi-year strategic research collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The alliance combines Nexo’s covalent chemistry and chemical biology platform with MD Anderson’s expertise in translational research and drug development, specifically focusing on previously undruggable targets. Together, they aim to advance small-molecule therapies and offer hope to cancer patients with limited treatment options.
Carlo Rizzuto, Ph.D., Managing Director at Versant Ventures, praises Nexo’s platform for its potential in generating effective cancer treatments. He said that the Series A financing will help establish a pipeline of differentiated therapeutics, providing new hope for needy patients.
Advancing Cancer Therapies for the Future
Ali Behbahani, M.D., NEA’s general partner, said innovative approaches are needed to tackle challenging cancer targets. The Nexo team’s unique insights and operational experience position them to pave the way for the next wave of covalent drugs and drive progress for patients needing effective treatments.
With the significant funding secured and strategic collaborations, Nexo Therapeutics is well-equipped to lead the charge in developing groundbreaking cancer therapies.
Their pioneering platform, driven by covalent ligand discovery and chemical biology, shows promise in unlocking the potential of previously intractable targets.
The future looks bright for cancer patients as Nexo strives to create a pipeline of differentiated therapeutics, offering new hope and improved outcomes for those facing complex medical challenges.
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