Pharma Focus Asia

Iterion Therapeutics Secures $17 Million to Advance Development of Tegavivint in Multiple Tumor Settings

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Iterion Therapeutics, Inc. ("Iterion"), a venture-backed, clinical stage biotechnology company developing novel cancer therapeutics, announced that it has raised $17 million USD in a Series B financing led by Lumira Ventures, with the participation of existing investors, including Santé Ventures, as well as new investors Venture Investors, GPG Ventures, and Viva BioInnovator.

Iterion plans to utilize the proceeds from this financing to advance the development of its lead clinical candidate, Tegavivint, a novel, potent and selective nuclear beta-catenin inhibitor. Tegavivint is currently being investigated in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in patients with desmoid tumors, which are rare, non-metastasizing sarcomas that overexpress nuclear beta-catenin. Iterion has received Orphan Drug Designation for Tegavivint to treat desmoid tumors, a disease for which there are no FDA approved therapies.

In addition to desmoid tumors, Iterion is preparing to initiate clinical programs in 2021 to investigate Tegavivint in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and pediatric cancers, including sarcomas, lymphoma and other solid tumors.  These cancers are often characterized by nuclear beta-catenin overexpression, providing potential high-value target expansions for Tegavivint.

"We envision incredible potential therapeutic benefits associated with Tegavivint, and are excited to support the Iterion team in its exploration of multiple clinical development opportunities for this potentially groundbreaking therapeutic," said Benjamin Rovinski, Ph.D., Managing Director at Lumira Ventures. "2021 is expected to be a pivotal year for Iterion as the company anticipates initiating clinical trials in AML, NSCLC and pediatric cancers, all indications in which nuclear beta-catenin signaling plays a role. By pursuing a novel mechanism of action, we believe Tegavivint has the potential to overcome challenges faced by prior drugs targeting this pathway."

Nuclear beta-catenin is a highly-studied oncology target associated with numerous cancer types. Tegavivint is unique among nuclear beta-catenin inhibitors in that it binds to TBL1 (Transducin Beta-like Protein One), a novel downstream target in the Wnt-signaling pathway. As such, Tegavivint enables silencing of Wnt-pathway gene expression without affecting other necessary Wnt/beta-catenin functions in the cell membrane, thus avoiding toxicity issues common to other drugs in this pathway.

"We are grateful to have the confidence of investors, including Lumira Ventures, Santé Ventures and others, that appreciate Tegavivint's potential to treat a host of cancers," said Rahul Aras, Ph.D., CEO of Iterion. "Nuclear beta-catenin has historically been considered an 'undruggable' oncology target with prior inhibitors having been plagued by toxicity issues, greatly limiting their therapeutic use.  Research suggests that these toxicity concerns can be negated by targeting TBL1, a novel downstream target in the Wnt-signaling pathway necessary for beta-catenin's oncogenic activity.  This is precisely Tegavivint's mechanism of action and why we believe the technology holds such substantial promise."

Dr. Aras continued, "With the Series B funding, Iterion has the potential to significantly expand our clinical footprint through completion of our ongoing desmoid tumor study and initiate clinical trials in 2021 to investigate Tegavivint in AML, NSCLC, and certain pediatric cancers."

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