Dren Bio, Inc., a company developing powerful protein-engineering technologies for depletion of cells, protein aggregates and other disease-causing agents, announced the closing of a $60 million Series A investment round.
The round was led by SR One and Taiho Ventures, LLC , with participation from existing investors 8VC and Mission BioCapital and new investors including BVF Partners L.P., HBM Healthcare Investments, and Alexandria Venture Investments.
Dren will utilize the proceeds to advance its two lead programs through early clinical development. Dren’s first program, DR-01, is an antibody-based therapy to treat rare leukemias and lymphomas as well as specific phenotypes of auto-immune disorders. Dren’s second program, DR-02, is an enhanced antibody-based platform to deplete cells and other disease-causing agents through a novel mechanism-of-action.
“Our strategy is to select the appropriate immune cell type to induce potent and measurable therapeutic effects,” said Nenad Tomasevic, PhD, Dren’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder. “The DR-01 program employs enhanced ADCC to eliminate pathologic cells in clearly defined patient populations. Our DR-02 platform engages a different immune effector cell to a target, resulting in immune stimulation and target depletion.”
Dr. Tomasevic brings over twenty years of biotech development experience and previously co-founded Allakos, a clinical-stage, publicly-traded company nearing commercialization.
Lewis Lanier, PhD, Chair of Dren’s Scientific Advisory Board, said, “Dren’s therapies are exciting because they offer novel strategies to meet an unmet need in treatment of lymphomas and leukemias and to potentially enhance the potency of T cells in cancer immunotherapy.” Dr. Lanier is the Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and the J. Michael Bishop MD Distinguished Professor at UCSF.
“We are impressed by Dren’s progress since the company’s inception in 2019,” commented Rajeev Dadoo, Partner at SR One. “The DR-01 program has a clear development path to the clinic, focusing on diseases with no approved therapies.”
“In oncology, the DR-02 platform could enable direct and selective depletion of cancer cells accompanied by localized immune stimulation,” said Sakae Asanuma, President at Taiho Ventures. “The technology is also demonstrating the potential to eliminate agents in diverse diseases, including infections and protein aggregation. We are proud to recognize Dren’s potential at an early stage and support its success.”
Dren previously closed a $6 million Seed Financing in 2019 led by 8VC with participation by Mission BioCapital and prominent industry veterans. “We appreciate the support from Dren’s investors, who to date have committed over $66 million in funding for our programs,” said John Wesley, co-founder and Chief Financial Officer. “The goal of our Series A financing is to bring two drug candidates to the clinic.”
Source: Company Press Release