Synthekine announced the closing of an $82 million Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Canaan Partners, Samsara BioCapital and The Column Group, with participation from other undisclosed investors. Proceeds from this Series A financing will be used to advance Synthekine’s lead therapeutic programs into clinical studies, expand its discovery pipeline and refine its proprietary cytokine engineering platforms.
Cytokines are small, soluble proteins that are powerful regulators of the immune system and can stimulate a wide range of immune cells, primarily driven by their binding and interaction with cell surface receptors.
Synthekine has licensed several cytokine programs and platforms from Stanford University. Research conducted in the Garcia lab at Stanford led to insights into the interaction of cytokines and their receptors, allowing researchers to engineer modified cytokines to deliver selective activity to particular cell types of therapeutic interest, giving them the potential for optimized efficacy, a larger therapeutic window and improved safety for patients.
Synthekine’s preclinical programs and innovative platform technologies include the following:
STK-012: Designed to selectively agonize T cells that recognize tumor antigens, Synthekine’s lead immuno-oncology IL-2 partial agonist STK-012 has demonstrated single-agent activity in preclinical tumor models. The company anticipates filing an IND in 2021.
STK-009: Designed to selectively activate CAR-Ts and other adoptive cell therapies (ACTs) in vivo to improve efficacy, persistence and durability of CAR-Ts and other ACTs. Data evaluating STK-009, an orthogonal IL-2 ligand, with SYNCAR-001, an orthogonal IL-2 receptor-modified CD-19 targeted CAR-T, were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting in 2020 and showed the ability to selectively harness the potent anti-tumoral T-cell effector functions of IL-2 and improve the efficacy, durability and manufacturability of CAR-T cell therapy. Synthekine anticipates filing an IND in 2021 for the STK-009/SYNCAR-001 combination.
Synthekine platform: Designed as a combinatorial engineering platform, synthekines are surrogate cytokine agonists that can combine cytokine receptors and drive new signaling activities without reliance on the wild type cytokine. The company is developing synthekines across several families of cytokines receptors.