Poitiers, France, March 17, 2021 – Seekyo, a startup company specializing in developing smart chemotherapy drugs, today announces that it has raised in excess of €650,000 ($775K) in bridge funding from its historic investors (business angel networks WeLike, BAdGE and Synergence), and from Bpifrance. This funding is in addition to the €800,000 ($954K) raised in January 2020.
Seekyo will use the funding to accelerate development of its main drug candidate SKY01, which targets solid tumors with high unmet medical needs such as pancreatic and triple-negative breast cancers. The funds will primarily be spent on increasing the amount of non-regulatory preclinical data, laying the groundwork for regulatory review and preparing the documentation for the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM). Seekyo will also carry out in vivo selection of its new immuno-oncology drug candidate SKY02.
“This intermediate round of financing from our historic investors and Bpifrance is testament to the confidence our investors have in us in terms of our corporate strategy, exciting prospects and pipeline of innovative drug candidates. We are now preparing our Series A round of funding, which will be directed towards the regulatory and clinical development of our lead drug candidate SKY01. Alongside this, we will continue our advanced discussions with industrial partners,” said Oury Chetboun, CEO, Seekyo.
“We are delighted with the highly encouraging, positive results obtained with SKY01, particularly in the PDX tests (patient-derived xenograft); especially when compared to the current treatments for cancers that have very few, or even no options, beyond standard chemotherapy. This gives us new perspectives, as we plan the next stages in its R&D,” added Prof. Sébastien Papot, scientific director and co-founder of Seekyo.
“Given the promising preclinical results for SKY01, we wanted to strengthen Seekyo’s financial structure prior to the Series A round of funding. Its progress in treating solid tumors demonstrates significant potential; from both a scientific and commercial point of view. It could lead to highly selective therapies that will outperform the current treatments. We have every faith that the team will deliver,” explained Laurent Bracco, investor, strategic committee member and former biotech entrepreneur.
Seekyo was founded in 2018 and is developing SKY01, a drug candidate with the potential to specifically target solid tumors, in particular in pancreatic, lung, colon, head-and-neck and triple-negative breast cancers. Based on its patented molecular platform, the drug candidate is safely transported throughout the body using therapeutic vectors, which detect the tumor and trigger anti-cancer activity, affecting only the malignant tissue. The drug is activated in the tumor microenvironment through highly targeted extracellular enzyme cutting. This increases effectiveness, whilst significantly reducing any adverse effects.
Figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer show that 19.3 million new cases were diagnosed worldwide in 2020, with ten million recorded deaths. Worldwide, one in five people develop cancer during their lifetime; one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease.
Over 40% of cancers are solid tumors, which are typically treated using chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy also attacks healthy cells, leading to major adverse effects.
New classes of drugs currently on the market (or in development) for oncology applications, seek to further improve targeting, in the manner of ADCs (antibody-drug conjugates). Seekyo’s therapies are selective, targeted and inducible. Alongside ADCs, they represent another tool in helping practitioners combat solid tumors.
Seekyo is a biotechnology company developing new-generation cancer treatments known as ‘smart chemotherapy selective to tumors and safe for patients’.
Seekyo develops drug candidates that are able to safely transport powerful anti-cancer agents throughout the body. They target the tumor microenvironment and selectively release the active agent through enzyme activation.
By targeting the microenvironment of solid tumors, while sparing healthy tissue, the company aims to provide cancer patients with highly specific and effective treatments that have limited adverse effects.
The company was founded in 2018. It is based in Poitiers, France, and is being incubated at Paris Biotech Santé.