Sitryx launches with $30m funding to develop disease-modifying therapeutics

New biopharmaceutical company Sitryx has been launched with $30m fundraising for the development of disease modifying therapeutics in immunometabolism.

The company, founded with seed funding from SV Health investors, raised a total of $30 million from a syndicate of specialist international healthcare investors co-led by SV Health Investors and Sofinnova Partners and that also included Longwood Fund and the global healthcare company GSK.

The investment will be used to develop disease-modifying therapies in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation.

Immunometabolism is a fast-emerging area of investigation into the role of metabolic pathways in immune cell function.

Changes to these pathways have been shown to be pivotal in the development of a number of severe diseases, including a range of cancer and autoimmune conditions.

Correcting immune cell function and/or inhibiting tumour cell growth through immunometabolic therapies have the potential to be key, complementary and highly differentiated approaches to treating disease.

Sitryx is leveraging the world-leading scientific expertise of its founders in the field of immunometabolism to address a broad range of immunometabolic targets.

Through differentiated chemistry approaches, including small molecules, proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTACS) and topical formulations, Sitryx has built a portfolio of projects addressing oncology and immuno-inflammatory indications.

Sitryx’s proprietary science is supported through close working with GSK’s drug discovery and chemistry experts. This includes access to certain GSK technologies and the licensing of intellectual property, including chemical matter, from GSK.

GSK’s interest in Sitryx arose from work within the Immunology Network, a unique open collaboration initiative connecting GSK to the work of academic scientists and their novel immunology research.

Sitryx was co-founded by a team of world-leading scientists from the United States and Europe, who have contributed significantly to the field.

Co-founders comprise Houman Ashrafian, Partner at SV Health Investors; Luke O’Neill, Professor of Biochemistry, School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin; Jonathan Powell, Professor of Oncology and Associate Director, Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Johns Hopkins University; Jeff Rathmell, Professor of Cancer Biology and Director, Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology; Michael Rosenblum, Assistant Professor, UCSF School of Medicine; and Paul Peter Tak, former Chief Immunology Officer and Senior Vice President at GSK and Professor of Medicine at Amsterdam University Medical Centre.

Sitryx has recruited a team of highly experienced drug discovery and development leaders including CEO Neil Weir, formerly SVP Discovery at UCB Pharma.

Sitryx CEO Neil Weir said: “Immunometabolism is an extremely exciting and compelling scientific area and, at Sitryx, we have seen that modulation of these key cellular pathways has broad therapeutic potential across multiple disorders with unmet medical need, particularly in the areas of immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation.

“We are delighted to welcome leading specialist investors to the company, which further validates the strength of our scientific expertise and ambitions. Together with our proprietary chemistry, deep biological insights and world leading team of immunometabolism experts, Sitryx is well positioned to become a leader in immunometabolism.”

Longwood Fund general partner Richard Aldrich said: “We’re excited about our investment in Sitryx and their world class team. The Sitryx immunometabolism platform has the potential to yield major breakthroughs in inflammation and oncology.”

SV Health Investors’ Houman Ashrafian said: “This significant fundraise is clear validation of Sitryx’s expertise and ambitions in the fast-emerging area of immunometabolism. We’re very pleased to be able to support Sitryx at this exciting time and will follow the team’s scientific progress with interest.”

Sofinnova Partners’ Maina Bhaman said: “Sitryx represents an exciting opportunity in the promising area of immunometabolism and we are extremely pleased to invest in Sitryx and look forward to supporting the management team as it establishes Sitryx as a leader in the development of disease-modifying therapeutics in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation.”

GSK research senior vice president John Lepore said: “Immunology is at the heart of GSK’s new approach to R&D. Through our Immunology Network, we believe the emerging field of immunometabolism that Sitryx is focusing on has the potential to bring new therapeutic opportunities to patients for a broad range of diseases including cancer.

“Our investment in Sitryx will allow us to access this exciting science through working closely with world-renowned academic scientists in an open collaborative way.”

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