Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on developing the first Glycoimmune Checkpoint Inhibitors to treat cancer, today announced the completion of a $47.6 million Series A financing from leading biotech venture investors SR One, Pfizer Ventures, Vertex Ventures HC, Takeda Ventures, and AbbVie Ventures.
The Series A funding will be used to establish and advance a first-in-class pipeline of drug candidates targeting Glycoimmune Checkpoints — receptors on immune cells that normally distinguish “self” versus “non-self” but get exploited in cancer to create immunosuppression that allows tumors to thrive. Glycoimmune Checkpoints function in ways similar to T cell checkpoints, with a few important differences: they are activated by binding to cell-surface glycans — the sugar molecules found on cell surfaces — rather than to other proteins, and they are expressed in a wider range of immune cells involved in the anti-cancer response, including both innate and adaptive immune cells. In addition, Glycoimmune Checkpoints appear to be exploited by most types of cancer, and a tumor’s unique glycan signature offers the prospect of selecting patients who are likely to respond to therapy.
Jim Broderick, MD, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Palleon, commented, “The most meaningful breakthroughs often occur at the intersection of diverse and seemingly unrelated scientific disciplines. Palleon was spawned by bringing together new findings in glycoscience and human immunology, which resulted in unexpected implications for oncology. The convergence of these two fields has enabled us to develop a novel class of medicines that could have a significant impact on the lives of cancer patients.”
Palleon’s Convergence Platform is driven by the combined expertise of its world-class founding team in tumor glycoscience and human immunology. The company has incorporated a range of technologies to overcome the historic scientific barriers that have made glycoscience a challenging area of study. Armed with a unique understanding of the differences in immune pattern recognition between humans and other species, the company has integrated human biology into every step of the drug development process, including target validation, in vitro models, in vivo models, and translational research. The company has assembled the core expertise needed to pioneer a new field in this complex area of biology, and its proprietary knowledge will define Palleon’s leadership in this rapidly emerging area.