Lead products are in Phase I trials as treatments for cancer and allergic rhinitis.

VentiRx Pharmaceuticals raised $25 million in a Series A Extension financing round. The new investment will be used to fund continued clinical development of VentiRx’ toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) candidates for the treatment of cancer as well as respiratory and inflammatory diseases.

VentiRx’ lead candidates are VTX-1462 for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and VTX-2337 for oncology indications; both are in Phase I development. VTX-1462 is a small molecule TLR8 agonist administered intranasally. VentiRx claims the molecule is the first selective TLR8 compound to reach the clinic for allergy. VTX-2337 is a small molecule TLR8 agonist designed to stimulate myeloid dendritic cells and monocytes and enhance NK-cell responses. It is administered subcutaneously on a weekly basis.

VentiRx is also developing small molecule antagonists that inhibit responses to TLR8. The firm’s lead preclinical candidate, VTX-763, has demonstrated inhibition of TNFα production in vitro and inhibits TLR8-induced NF-kB activation.

The new financing was led by MedImmune Ventures, the venture capital fund of AstraZeneca’s MedImmune biologics business. Existing investors including ARCH Venture Partners, Domain Associates, and Frazier Healthcare Ventures also participated. To date VentiRx has raised $56.1 million in Series A investments.

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