SAN DIEGO, March 3, 2021 – Janux Therapeutics today announced the close of a $56 million Series A financing led by Avalon Ventures and joined by new investors, OrbiMed and RA Capital Management, as well as existing investors, Bregua and Correlation Ventures. In conjunction with the financing, Peter Thompson, M.D., partner at OrbiMed, and Jake Simson, Ph.D., partner at RA Capital Management will join the Board of Directors. Janux’s proprietary Tumor Activated T Cell Engager (TRACTr) technology is designed to overcome specific limitations of current T cell immuno-oncology therapies. The financing will be used to advance the Company’s preclinical pipeline, including a TROP2-TRACTr and PSMA-TRACTr, with expected advancement of the Company’s first candidate into the clinic in the first half of next year.
“We are pleased to close this financing round with a top-tier investor syndicate who recognize the potential of our TRACTr technology to engineer best-in-class T cell engagers to provide better outcomes for cancer patients,” said David Campbell, Ph.D., President and CEO of Janux Therapeutics. “With this financing, we’re focused on advancing our deep pipeline of T cell engager immunotherapies for the treatment of various cancers. We anticipate that the first of several development candidates will be entering the clinic next year for a solid tumor indication.”
T cell engagers are an emerging class of immunotherapies that bind to a tumor cell and recruit a patient’s T cells to eradicate tumor cells. Although previous therapies utilizing other technologies have displayed substantial anti-tumor efficacy, they have been constrained by dose-limiting toxicities, poor pharmacokinetic profiles, and attenuated efficacy. Janux’s TRACTr technology is designed to overcome these limitations by integrating tumor-specific activation with crossover pharmacokinetics to produce best-in-class T cell engager therapeutics. In preclinical studies, Janux TRACTr drug candidates have demonstrated comparable anti-tumor efficacy relative to standard T cell engagers but lack the associated liabilities related to cytokine release, healthy tissue toxicities, or systemic immune activation.
“T cells are the most potent killers of tumor cells within the immune system, but directing, controlling, and integrating that activity is the key to next generation immunotherapies,” said Jay Lichter, Ph.D., managing partner of Avalon Ventures. “Janux’s TRACTr technology offers the potential to balance T cell potency with specificity with the goal of generating immunotherapies with optimal safety, efficacy, and specificity.”
About Janux Therapeutics
Janux Therapeutics is developing safe, effective novel immunotherapies with the company’s proprietary TRACTr technology. Janux’s TRACTr technology employs a modular design to rapidly engineer drug candidates against specific targets. The Janux TRACTr development pipeline targets multiple solid tumor indications, including colorectal, gastroesophageal, prostrate, NSCLC, triple negative breast, and ovarian cancers. Janux technology can be applied to immunotherapies that target all three stages of an anti-tumor immune response. Combining Janux’s tumor-specific activation with multi-stage anti-tumor signaling has the potential to significantly improve safety, expand the therapeutic dosing window, and maximize patient responses. Janux was founded in the Avalon Ventures accelerator, COI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in San Diego.