TechFW client OncoNano Medicine Inc. announced Thursday, May 17, the closing of $11.7 million in Series A financing arranged by Salem Partners, who also participated as a principal investor, a news release announced.
The money will be used to support the Southlake-based company’s continued clinical development of a new class of pH-activated compounds that digitalize and exploit the variability of pH in disease indications such as cancer, the release said.
This Series A funding supplements a $6 million grant previously received from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. In addition to its funding news, OncoNano has announced the appointment of five established industry leaders to its Board of Directors.
OncoNano’s new Board of Directors are:
— Al Guillem, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Former President of ZS Pharma, Inc. ZS Pharma, another TechFW client, was purchased by Astrazeneca for $2.7 billion in 2015.
— Ravi Srinivasan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of OncoNano Medicine
— John Dyett, Founder and Managing Director of Salem Partners, LLC
— Paritosh Dhawale, Ph.D., General Manager of Contrast Media at GE Healthcare
— Joydeep Goswami, Ph.D., President, Clinical NGS and Oncology at Thermo Fisher Scientific
“The raise of our Series A and the expansion of our Board of Directors underscores our tremendous clinical momentum and the excitement surrounding our approach to targeting disease,” Srinivasan said in the release. “The team is highly motivated to advance our unique pH-activated compound platform for the development of a broad range of highly targeted therapeutics and imaging agents with the objective of contributing to the improvement of patients’ lives.”
OncoNano is using pH variability, a biomarker, to detect and treat diseased tissue, the release explained, adding that by targeting pH they can make a clear delineation between diseased and healthy tissue that can then digitized to develop a range of targeted applications.
“The breadth and depth of medical applications for OncoNano’s pH-activated compounds are tremendous. With these new funds, we will aim to prove the clinical utility of ONM-100 in cancer surgeries and expanding the platform across multiple therapeutic applications,” Guillem said in the release. “I am excited to join the company’s Board as Chairman and look forward to working with OncoNano to deliver a new class of products that can help patients combat disease.”
The technology and compounds were invented at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center by Jinming Gao, Professor of Pharmacology and Otolaryngology, and Baran D. Sumer, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Additionally the trios invention has been featured in numerous publications, including Nature Materials, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Communications and Advanced Materials.
In fact, Gao and Sumer co-founded OncoNano and remain on the Scientific Advisory Board for the company while they continue their research.
The company’s first program with its pH-activated compound platform is ONM-100, an injectable imaging agent that targets the acidic pH within tumors to accurately distinguish cancer cells from healthy tissue during surgery, the release explained.
ONM-100 aims to provide surgeons with an easier and more effective method to assess lymph nodes and tumor margins during tumor removal in real-time during surgery. OncoNano designed ONM-100 to fit current surgical practices and be employed during all steps of cancer surgery including intraoperative, cancer staging and post-surgery evaluation.