Proceeds will support product development and expansion of in-house cGMP manufacturing capabilities
Company anticipates initiating Phase 2 trial of CRISPR-Cas3-enhanced bacteriophage precision medicine for UTIs mid-2022
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Locus Biosciences, Inc. (“Locus”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a new class of precision engineered bacteriophage treatments for a diverse set of bacterial diseases, today announced that it completed a $35 million financing which included a Series B equity financing and conversion of an earlier convertible note. Notable investors participating in the round included Artis Ventures, Tencent Holdings, Viking Global Investors, Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and Discovery Innovations.
Through its unique bacteriophage discovery, synthetic biology and manufacturing platform, Locus is developing two innovative categories of biotherapeutics to address significant unmet medical needs: precision CRISPR-enhanced bacteriophage (crPhage®) products to fight deadly infections, including those caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria; and engineered bacteriophage therapies that utilize bacteria resident in specific locations in the body to deliver therapeutic molecules.
Combined with strong and growing revenues from its partnerships, including its ongoing collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., proceeds from this financing will support the advancement of lead candidate LBP-EC01, a crPhage precision medicine targeting Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria causing urinary tract infections (UTIs), into a registrational Phase 2/3 trial, and further development of the Company’s preclinical programs focused on developing therapies for microbiome-associated diseases. In addition, funds will support the expansion of Locus’ discovery platform engine and enhancement of its in-house manufacturing capability to support oral solid dose delivery of its products.
“Locus’ novel scientific approach has the potential to fundamentally change the way bacterial diseases are treated. We are realizing this potential through a robust product pipeline, over $1 billion in signed partnerships, and a vertically integrated, commercial-scale cGMP manufacturing facility. We are grateful for our strong investor syndicate that shares our vision, recognizes the transformative capability of our technology to address urgent areas of unmet medical need, and appreciates our excellent financial and operational performance,” said Paul Garofolo, Co-founder and CEO of Locus. “This financing helps Locus accelerate our growth, while remaining nimble and adaptable.”
“We’re thrilled to have JJDC and Viking Global join the previous investor syndicate in supporting Locus as they advance further in the clinic and deliver lifesaving therapies to patients,” said Stuart Peterson, Partner at Artis Ventures.
The Company anticipates initiating a Phase 2/3 trial of LBP-EC01 for the treatment of UTIs caused by E. coli bacteria by mid-2022. An analysis of the global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) published in The Lancet in January 2022 found there were almost 5 million estimated deaths associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, an annual death toll similar in magnitude to that of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for new treatments. Locus is developing products targeting four of the six leading pathogens associated with AMR-related mortality in the analysis.
In 2021, Locus completed a Phase 1b clinical trial of LBP-EC01. The trial, which was the world’s first randomized, placebo-controlled trial of recombinant bacteriophage therapy, met all primary and secondary endpoints and supported advancement of the product into the upcoming registrational Phase 2/3 trial.
About Locus Biosciences
Locus Biosciences is creating a new class of precision biotherapeutics with clinical-stage, engineered bacteriophage treatments for a diverse set of bacterial and microbiome/inflammatory diseases. A world-leading bacteriophage discovery, synthetic biology, and manufacturing platform powers the company. Locus engineers bacteriophage – naturally occurring viruses that target bacteria – to: 1) kill pathogenic bacteria, while sparing good bacteria, through programmable, precision anti-bacterials with CRISPR-Cas3; and 2) utilize bacteria resident in the body to deliver therapeutic molecules to reduce inflammation or induce other biotherapeutic effects. Its artificial intelligence and machine-learning based discovery engine is targeting bacteria across therapeutic areas including infectious disease, immunology, and oncology. Multiple non-dilutive strategic partnerships validate the company’s platform and programs. These include anti-bacterial alliances with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for its lead Phase 2/3 asset; and Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Accelerator (CARB-X). For more on the Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based company, visit www.locus-bio.com.
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