IpiNovyx Bio Closes $10 Million Seed Financing to Advance Best-in-Class Immunoproteasome Inhibitors Toward First-in-Human Clinical Studies

Participating Investors include Viva BioInnovator, Eli Lilly and Company, Opaleye Management, Orange Grove Bio and Alexandria Venture Investments

Foundational Science Stems From Landmark Research at Weill Cornell Medicine and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Research Institute

Company’s Proprietary Technology Platform Enables Creation of Novel, Highly-Selective and Reversible Immunoproteasome Inhibitors for Treatment of Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases

NEW YORK, Oct. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IpiNovyx Bio, a biopharmaceutical company developing a platform of best-in-class immunoproteasome modulating therapeutics to transform treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, today announced the closing of a $10 million seed financing round. The financing was led by Viva BioInnovator (a Viva Biotech division) and also included participation from Lilly, Opaleye Management, Orange Grove Bio and Alexandria Venture Investments. Proceeds from the financing will support the company’s continued advancement of its lead drug candidates toward first-in-human clinical studies, including submission of the company’s first investigational new drug (IND) application.

IpiNovyx Bio’s drug development candidates have emerged from the company’s proprietary technology platform, which enables the creation of novel, highly-selective and reversible immunoproteasome inhibitors. These innovative small molecule inhibitors are designed to selectively target the immunoproteasome and modulate specific immune cell types that are associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Importantly, preclinical research suggests the compounds may possess a favorable toxicity profile as compared to immunosuppressive therapies based on their ability to inhibit immune responses without killing immune cells. Additionally, the inhibitory activity of the company’s drug candidates is reversible, further reducing the potential for toxicity. This promising therapeutic profile positions the development candidates as potential steroid-sparing therapeutics for patients with a range of autoimmune diseases, as well as long-term therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, many of which are lacking effective therapeutic options.

IpiNovyx was founded by Orange Grove Bio, a preclinically-focused capital allocation and asset development biotech firm, alongside scientific founders Gang Lin, Ph.D. and Carl Nathan, M.D. of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Franck Barrat, Ph.D., of Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Research Institute.

“Patients suffering from autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are faced with limited treatment options and most therapies that are available are non-selective and carry significant toxicity concerns. This lack of appealing therapeutic options is largely due to the heterogeneity of these diseases, which makes addressing their fundamental pathophysiology challenging,” said Dr. Nathan, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the R.A. Rees Pritchett Professor of Microbiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We believe that a strategy of specifically and selectively targeting the immunoproteasome offers the opportunity to overcome these challenges, allowing for the development of highly-selective, broad-acting and reversible immunoregulatory therapies that carry significantly reduced potential for toxicity. We are eager to continue our research in this area and work to advance these best-in-class immunoproteasome inhibitors into human clinical trials.”  

“Orange Grove Bio is dedicated to partnering with world-class researchers to advance the most promising drug development technologies emerging from leading academic institutions. We believe that IpiNovyx’s scientific founders and their unique approach to developing best-in-class immunoproteasome inhibitors are the ideal fit for this model,” said Marc Appel, co-founder and chief executive officer of IpiNovyx and chief executive officer of Orange Grove Bio. “This seed funding will enable the company to rapidly progress through preclinical studies and into the clinic with the goal of delivering life changing therapies to patients suffering from autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.”

The immunoproteasome possesses several key attributes that position it as a promising therapeutic target for complex inflammatory diseases. First, inflammatory disease relevant stimuli rapidly induce the immunoproteasome, which then supports the activity of immune cell functions including growth, differentiation, cytokine release and signaling. This induced activity is exacerbated by both the high prevalence of the immunoproteasome in multiple immune cell types that are linked to immunopathology and the fact that its abundance increases further in those cells undergoing activation. Supporting the value of this therapeutic target are preclinical study results in multiple in vivo and in vitro inflammatory disease models that have demonstrated efficacy for modestly selective inhibition of the immunoproteasome.

The fundamental technology being advanced by IpiNovyx is based on pioneering science conducted in the Nathan and Lin laboratories at Weill Cornell Medicine in collaboration with the Barrat lab at HSS, with prior support provided by Weill Cornell Medicine’s de-risking program, the Daedalus Fund for Innovation, which operates under the auspices of Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation. An important component of this work was also developed through the efforts of the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute, a unique program that provides a dedicated medicinal chemistry platform to generate novel chemical and molecular entities on behalf of its academic collaborators, with a view toward advancing early-stage therapeutic candidates into new treatments for patients. The technology is also in-licensed through an agreement with Cornell University’s Center for Technology Licensing (CTL).

“Weill Cornell Medicine’s robust innovation ecosystem works together to bring our faculty’s cutting-edge research to market for the benefit of patients by providing institutional support at critical junctures,” said Dr. John Leonard, senior associate dean for innovation and initiatives at Weill Cornell Medicine. “IpiNovyx Bio, a company based on the fundamental work of Drs. Lin and Nathan, serves as an example of innovation meeting collaboration at the frontiers of science, and we look forward to the treatment advances this technology may one day offer for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.”

Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation accelerates the best of biomedical innovation to market, translating groundbreaking research into transformational care. Enterprise Innovation provides a bridge between academic researchers and industry stakeholders, brokering engagements and alliances, engaging with and educating faculty about biotech commercialization and business development—which includes patenting and licensing, as well as designing dedicated research alliances —and providing a full suite of entrepreneurial programming, education, mentoring, and other resources.

HSS is the world’s largest academic medical center dedicated to musculoskeletal health.

About IpiNovyx Bio
IpiNovyx Bio is a drug development and platform technology company focused on novel therapeutics to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases through selective inhibition of the immunoproteasome. With applications across a range of indications with underlying immunopathology, IpiNovyx Bio’s platform technology enables highly selective, reversible and non-toxic inhibition of various immune cell types.

About Orange Grove Bio
Orange Grove Bio (OGB) is an emerging, preclinical, capital allocation and asset development biotech company. OGB partners with universities and entrepreneurs to develop innovative treatments for important diseases, particularly cancer and immune disorders.

CONTACT: Contacts

IpiNovyx Bio
Marc Appel, Chief Executive Officer
(845) 558-5286

Vida Strategic Partners (on behalf of IpiNovyx)
Tim Brons
(415) 674-7402

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