Ratio raises $20m to build on its radiopharma ambitions
Boston-based biotech Ratio Therapeutics has doubled its funding at a stroke with a $20 million Series A that will be used to usher its targeted radiotherapies into clinical testing.
The latest round comes on top of seed financing of $20 million - announced last year - that co-founders Dr Jack Hoppin and Dr John Babich have been putting towards the development of alpha particle-emitting radiopharmaceuticals.
The company has been set up to refine a pair of technologies that are designed to improve on the safety and efficacy of current radiotherapies, a group that includes Bayer's alpha-emitting Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride) for prostate cancer and Novartis's Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), which delivers beta radiation.
Ratio's Trillium platform uses an albumin carrier to improve the delivery of alpha-emitting molecules to tumours, reduce off-target side effects in other tissues, and allow the properties of the radiotherapy to be tuned for properties such as how long it is retained in the body.
Meanwhile, Macropa is a chelator that is used to attach the alpha emitting radionuclide actinium-225 to Trillium and other compounds, including small molecules, peptides, and antibodies.
The overall aim is to allow the cell-killing properties of alpha particles to be aimed more accurately at tumours, more like a sniper rifle than a shotgun, and the company's approach has already attracted partnerships from Bayer and medical imaging specialist Lantheus.
The Bayer alliance is looking at new prostate cancer therapies, while Ratio is working with Lantheus on NTI-1309, an imaging biomarker that targets fibroblast activation protein (FAP), with potential in cancer imaging.
The new cash injection will be used to further develop Trillium and Macropa, advance some programmes through to clinical-stage development, and fund new hires and strategic partnerships.
The latest round was led by Duquesne Capital and Schusterman Family Investments, with Kenan Turnacioglu, general partner at Catalio Capital Management, representing them and joining as an executive advisor.
Ratio also said that biopharma industry veteran Susan Whoriskey - a member of the founding executive teams of Vera Therapeutics, Moderna, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and Cubist Pharmaceuticals – has joined the company as a strategic advisor.
"This financing extends our cash runway into 2024 and will allow us to continue making progress toward our milestones," said Hoppin, who is chief executive at Ratio.
"We look forward to working closely with our shareholders as we continue to advance our R&D platforms and bring innovative treatments to address the unmet needs of patients as quickly as possible."
pharmaphorum's Editor-in-chief Jonah Comstock caught up with Drs Hoppin and Babich a few weeks ago to hear more about their plans for Ratio.
Check out the video below for the whole conversation.