Endeavor raises $132.5m for fibrosis, cancer drugs

funding round
Gerd Altmann

Endeavor BioMedicines has completed a third round financing, raising an impressive $132.5 million to fund trials of its two clinical-stage drug candidates for pulmonary fibrosis and solid tumours.

It is the latest in a recent string of nine-figure private rounds for US biotechs that point to an improving environment for access to financing, coming after others from TORL BioTherapeutics, Nvelop Therapeutics, Seaport Therapeutics, Obsidian Therapeutics, Alterome, and Diagonal Therapeutics in just the last few weeks.

San Diego-based Endeavor recently completed a phase 2a trial of its lead drug ENV-101 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and has said the preliminary results suggest it could be the first disease-modifying therapy for the disease. The full data from the study has not yet been presented.

The biotech is also developing the drug – an oral small molecule inhibitor of the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway – as a treatment for progressive pulmonary fibrosis (PPF). The Hh pathway is usually involved in wound healing but is thought to be abnormally activated in IPF and PPF, causing the buildup of scar tissue in the lungs.

The new funding will help the company embark on a phase 2b study in IPF that is due to start later this year, with a parallel cohort of patients with PPF.

It will also go towards the clinical development of ENV-501, an anti-HER3 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that Endeavor licensed from Singapore’s Hummingbird Bioscience last year in a deal valued at up to $430 million.

The drug is in the same class as Daiichi Sankyo’s patritumab deruxtecan, which is in clinical development for EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and was one of three ADCs licensed by MSD for $4 billion upfront in a massive deal worth up to $22 billion that was signed last October.

Endeavor plans to start a phase 1/2 trial of ENV-501 this year in HER3-positive solid tumours, saying its drug offers improved delivery to tumours that could increase its potency and reduce side effects.

The Series C was led by Matrix Capital Management affiliate AyurMaya, with participation from new investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, SymBiosis, Velosity Capital, and Woodline Partners, as well as existing backers. Karan Takhar, senior managing director at Matrix, will join the biotech’s board.

Endeavor came out of stealth mode in 2021 with a $62 million Series A, following that a year later with a $101 million second round.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay