–Proceeds to advance company’s pipeline of next-generation cytokine immunotherapies–
–Laura Shawver, Christine Siu join as independent directors–
BASEL, Switzerland and SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bright Peak Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing next-generation cytokine immunotherapies to treat cancer and autoimmune disease, today announced that it raised $107 million in a Series B financing. The round was led by RA Capital, with participation by founding investor Versant Ventures and new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Qatar Investment Authority, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Alexandria Venture Investments and an undisclosed leading healthcare investment fund.
Bright Peak uses a novel technology to chemically synthesize therapeutic cytokines by ligating together customized peptide segments. This proprietary technology provides unique flexibility to both tune and enhance cytokine biology through affinity modification and orthogonal, site-specific conjugation. The company’s platform also allows for the conjugation of its enhanced cytokines as payloads to certain antibodies, creating novel and proprietary “Bright Peak Immunocytokines.” These Immunocytokines will allow tissue- and cell-specific targeting of the cytokine payload with the added potential for synergistic efficacy through potency-enhancing avidity effects.
“The investment from this accomplished crossover syndicate underscores the enthusiasm for our platform and re-affirms our commitment to transform the therapeutic utility of cytokines to treat people with cancer and autoimmune diseases,” said Fredrik Wiklund, president and CEO of Bright Peak. “This capital will allow us to expand our Immunocytokine platform and advance our deep pipeline of programs across IL-2, IL-18 and IL-7.”
Also today, Bright Peak announced key additions to its board of directors with the appointments of independent directors Laura Shawver, Ph.D., and Christine Siu. Dr. Shawver, currently CEO of Silverback Therapeutics, is an industry veteran with an extensive scientific, translational and clinical background as well as a broad range of strategic expertise. Most recently, she was president and CEO of Synthorx, a developer of engineered cytokines for cancer and autoimmune disorders that was acquired by Sanofi in 2020 for $2.5 billion. She received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Iowa.
Ms. Siu is the chief operating officer in-residence at BridgeBio Pharma Inc., and former CFO at Eidos Therapeutics Inc., a BridgeBio subsidiary, where she transformed Eidos from a preclinical biotech start-up company to a late-stage clinical public company. Prior to that, she was the CBO at The Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia, where she built a therapeutic pipeline and executed seven collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry. Earlier, she was senior director, corporate development at Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT), and before that, a venture principal at Third Rock Ventures. Previously, Ms. Siu invested in life science companies in venture capital and private equity and held roles of increasing responsibility at Warburg Pincus LLC and Thomas, McNerney & Partners, LLC and began her career in healthcare banking at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Ms. Siu holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. with distinction in cellular molecular biology and economics from the University of Michigan.
On the Bright Peak board, Dr. Shawver and Ms. Siu join RA Capital’s Josh Resnick, M.D., and Michael Rosenzweig DVM, Ph.D., who joined in connection with the Series B financing, as well as existing board members Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., and Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., of Versant Ventures.
“We are pleased to lead a financing that will enable Bright Peak to broadly invest in its platform technologies, development programs, people, and, ultimately, towards delivering a pioneering new category of cytokine immunotherapies to patients in need,” said Dr. Resnick.
“We warmly welcome Laura, Christine, Josh, and Michael to our Board of Directors. Their deep domain expertise and business acumen will serve as a tremendous resource to the Company,” said Dr. Mayweg.
About Bright Peak
Bright Peak is a privately held biotechnology company based in San Diego, CA and Basel, Switzerland developing innovative cytokine therapeutics that are uniquely engineered to precisely tune and control desired biological properties. Using its proprietary Enhanced Design and Combine (EDC) chemistry platform, Bright Peak is developing an emerging portfolio of novel designer immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Bright Peak is also pioneering a new category of “Bright Peak Immunocytokines” that simultaneously leverages the precision of antibody targeting with cytokine-mediated selective immune modulation in the desired microenvironment.