IRVINE, CA / ACCESSWIRE / March 25, 2019 / TRIGR Therapeutics, Inc. (''TRIGR''), a newly formed privately held company focused on the clinical development and commercialization of targeted and immunomodulatory bispecific antibodies for oncology and ophthalmology indications, announced today that it has completed the second tranche of its seed financing round, with $14 million in aggregate proceeds.
The incremental $5 million March 2019 offering was entirely invested by Handok Inc. (KRX: 002390), a leading pharmaceutical company headquartered in the Republic of Korea. TRIGR closed a previous institutional seed round in July 2018. As part of the current offering, Handok also committed $2 million towards TRIGR's next qualified financing.
Proceeds from the capital raised have been used by TRIGR to secure exclusive global rights (excluding the Republic of Korea) to a pipeline of four multi-targeted bispecific antibodies from its discovery, research and development partner, ABL Bio (KRX: 298380). ABL Bio is a Korea based leading biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of proprietary bispecific, blood brain barrier, and ADC antibody platforms.
TRIGR's pipeline now includes one clinical stage dual angiogenesis bispecific antibody (TR009) which is currently in a dose escalation phase 1a clinical trial being conducted at the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea and 3 dual checkpoint and T-cell engaging bispecific antibody candidates. TR009 (ABL001/NOV1501) phase 1a/phase 1b clinical trials are conducted under the auspices of National OncoVenture (NOV), a Korean government funded organization.
Additional proceeds from the seed financing will be used to immediately broaden TRIGR's global clinical and regulatory infrastructure as TR009's clinical strategy expands to the US / EMA and China, where the Company is currently exploring strategic partnerships.
Phase 1a Clinical Update on TR009
TRIGR announced its license of TR009 (ABL001/NOV1501), a dual anti-angiogenic bispecific antibody targeting VEGF / DLL4 in December 2018. As an update to the Phase 1a dose escalation study, TR009 single agent clinical activity has been demonstrated across all dose levels in heavily pre-treated (5+ lines of prior therapy) cancer patients with solid tumors including gastric, colon, GIST, and ovarian cancers.
Out of a total of 15 evaluable patients, TR009 has produced a clinical benefit rate of 63% including stable disease (SD, tumor stabilization or shrinkage of 20% or less) in 9/16 patients with a mean duration of response of 3.4 months and 3 colorectal patients continuing treatment for over 8 months. Additionally, one unconfirmed partial response (PR, tumor shrinkage of 30% or more) was reported in a gastric cancer patient dosed at the highest tested dose cohort of 7.5 mg/kg. The responders include colorectal cancer and gastric cancer patients that have failed multiple lines of chemotherapy and biological agents including Avastin®, Erbitux®, and Stivarga®, Cyramza®, Keytruda®, Opdivo® and Herceptin®.
As of the 7.5mg/kg cohort, no dose limiting toxicities (DLT) have been reported. In the absence of a DLT, the phase 1a study is expected to continue to dose TR009 until the 12 mg/kg dose is reached which is expected sometime in Q2 2019. A phase 1b/2a study looking to combine TR009 with chemotherapy and a checkpoint inhibitor is expected to commence subsequent to the completion of phase 1a. An abstract for the Phase 1a preliminary results has been submitted to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for presentation in June of 2019.
Anti-angiogenic therapy is a cornerstone in cancer care, with sales of Avastin® (Roche) and Cymraza® (Eli Lilly) and other multi-VEGF targeted small molecules comprising $18 billion in 2017. Although this class of drugs has proven survival benefits and is a mainstay therapy in various tumors including colorectal, lung, ovarian, gastric and glioblastoma, resistance to current anti-VEGF therapy is creating the need for alternative anti-angiogenic regimens. Dual blockade of both VEFG and DLL4 is emerging as the next frontier of angiogenic therapy as the combination of these 2 mechanisms has been shown to overcome VEGF resistance.
''The completion of our seed round and strong commitment from Handok, a premier pharmaceutical company and long term partner, is a first step in our capital raising and corporate development strategy. We will continue to execute on our global clinical and regulatory plan for TR009 in gastric and colorectal cancers,'' said George Uy, CEO of TRIGR.
''We are very impressed by TRIGR and especially by the clinical benefit and safety profile of TR009 in highly resistant and refractory cancer patients,'' said Young-Jin Kim Chairman and CEO of Handok, ''In less than a year since its inception, TRIGR is rapidly establishing itself as a new leader in the bispecific antibody arena. We are very excited to support these programs and look forward to developing a potential accelerated path to approval for TR009.''
About TRIGR Therapeutics
TRIGR is an emerging biotechnology company in the field of next generation cancer therapies that was incorporated in April 2018 and managed by biopharmaceuticals industry veterans. TRIGR focuses on clinical development and commercialization of targeted and immuno-modulatory drugs with validated mechanism of action and novel formats for the US, European and Asian markets. The Company's pipeline includes a clinical stage dual-angiogenesis bispecific antibody program (TR009) and pre-clinical immune engaging bispecific antibodies.
SOURCE: TRIGR Therapeutics, Inc.