Autoimmune disease therapeutics startup Landos Biopharma raised $10 million in a Series A financing round led by life science investment management firm Perceptive Advisors as the sole investor. Founded by serial entrepreneur Josep Bassaganya-Riera, Ph.D., Landos is also the first company to be shepherded by Chris Garabedian’s accelerator Xontogeny, which launched in March with a $25 million Series A pot, also secured from Perceptive Advisors.
Blacksburg, VA-based Landos is developing a preclinical pipeline of therapeutics that target lanthionine synthetase C-like 2 (LANCL2) for treating autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease (CD), and ulcerative colitis (UC). Lead candidate BT-11 is an orally active, locally acting, small-molecule drug in development for treating CD and UC. The drug is designed to bind to LANCL2 and exert anti-inflammatory effects within the gastrointestinal tract. Landos says the Series A investment will allow it to complete Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies and file an IND for BT-11 next year. The company projects completing Phase I studies by early 2019.
“Landos is an exciting company for Xontogeny to partner with as Josep and his team have produced very compelling data in animal models of IBD and have brought their lead compound BT-11 to the cusp of clinical trials,” stated Garabedian, chairman and CEO of Xontogeny, who was, most recently, ex-president and CEO of Sarepta Therapeutics. “The properties of BT-11 are unique and well differentiated from current IBD products, and we believe it has the potential to represent an advance in the treatment of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.” Garabedian will join the Landos Board as senior business advisor to provide strategic and operating expertise.
Landos says translational studies in blood cells from Crohn’s disease patients indicate that BT-11 increases anti-inflammatory molecules such as interleukin-10 (IL-10) and FOXP3, while decreasing proinflammatory markers, including interferon-γ (IFN-γ), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The firm’s early-stage preclinical pipeline also includes candidates targeting type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
“As the first investment in a Xontogeny portfolio company since partnering with Chris earlier this year, we believe that Landos exemplifies the company profile we aim to support—an outstanding leadership team, a lead product with a novel mechanism, strong intellectual property, and a compelling preclinical and translational dataset that is close to the clinic for the treatment of an important disease with an unmet need for safer and more effective drugs,” said Joe Edelman, CEO of Perceptive Advisors. “We are extremely excited to partner with both Josep and Chris to build Landos into a global biopharmaceutical company focused on autoimmune diseases, and are convinced that the team will provide an accelerated path to compelling clinical proof-of concept for IBD.”