- IL-11 is key mediator of fibrosis and the tumor microenvironment
- Leadership team has collectively brought more than twenty antibody therapeutics into the clinic
SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 17, 2020–
Lassen Therapeutics today announced it has emerged from stealth and secured $31 million in Series A financing to develop antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis, rare diseases and oncology. The Series A financing was led by Frazier Healthcare Partners (Frazier) with participation from Alta Partners and Longwood Fund.
Founded in 2019, Lassen Therapeutics is developing LASN01, a best-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting IL-11 receptor alpha (IL-11R). IL-11, a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines, is a central mediator of fibrosis and blocking its activity has the potential to be more effective than targeting other factors such as TGF-β and CTGF. IL-11 is also a pivotal effector of tumor microenvironment organization and tumor growth, playing a key role as a mediator between cancer and stromal cells.
Lassen acquired best-in-class human anti-IL-11R monoclonal antibodies from CSL Limited (CSL), a leading global biotechnology company with its R&D facilities headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Accessing IL-11 research and antibodies from CSL greatly accelerates Lassen’s efforts to bring a novel therapeutic candidate to patients.
Lassen is led by a team of drug developers with deep experience in antibody drug discovery and development. The company was co-founded by industry veterans Mark Barrett, Chief Executive Officer, and David King, Ph.D., who serves as Chief Scientific Officer. The Lassen team has collectively brought more than twenty antibody therapeutics into the clinic with several on the market in the areas of oncology and inflammation – experience it will use to rapidly develop LASN01 and a pipeline of novel antibodies.
“IL-11 is a novel target and blocking the IL-11 pathway represents an exciting therapeutic approach for both fibrosis and oncology,” said Mr. Barrett. “Inhibition of this previously unexplored pathway has the potential to make a major impact on the course of a number of fibrotic diseases. Targeting IL-11 may also present a strategy to inhibit tumor proliferation and alter the structure of the tumor microenvironment to allow more effective cancer therapies.”
Under the agreement, Dr Andrew Nash, Senior Vice President, Research at CSL will join Lassen’s scientific advisory board. “We are pleased that Lassen will continue the development of CSL’s anti-IL-11R monoclonal antibody program,” said Dr. Nash. “We hope it will lead to better treatment options for oncology and fibrosis patients.”
Lassen has also announced a partnership with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) to accelerate its anti-IL-11R program. FDB has extensive industry leadership in cell culture processes including monoclonal antibody development and manufacturing. The LASN01 program is leveraging FDB’s high throughput cell culture platform which is based on advanced, single-use technologies to streamline and accelerate production of high-quality drug substance for clinical trials. “Working with leading companies such as CSL, Ltd and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has enabled us to rapidly advance our development programs and best-in-class novel therapies towards clinical evaluation,” said Dr. King.
Lassen was formed as part of Frazier’s company creation efforts. Frazier’s Life Sciences team builds companies developing and commercializing novel therapeutics and has started or seeded more than twenty companies since 2005. Frazier leverages its extensive relationships with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to identify and license assets into focused new companies with exceptional management teams.
About Lassen Therapeutics
Lassen Therapeutics develops antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis, rare diseases, and oncology. The company’s lead candidate is LASN01, a best-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting IL-11 receptor alpha (IL-11R). IL-11, a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines, is a central mediator of fibrosis and blocking its activity has the potential to be more effective than targeting other factors such as TGF-β and CTGF. IL-11 is also a pivotal effector of tumor microenvironment organization and tumor growth, playing a key role as a mediator between cancer and stromal cells. For more information, please visit www.lassentherapeutics.com
CSL (ASX:CSL) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus – provides life-saving products to more than 70 countries and employs more than 25,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the full. For more information about CSL Limited, visit www.csl.com
About Frazier Healthcare Partners
Founded in 1991, Frazier Healthcare Partners is a leading provider of growth and venture capital to healthcare companies. With nearly $4.8 billion total capital raised, Frazier has invested in over 200 companies, with investment types ranging from company creation and venture capital to buyouts of profitable lower-middle market companies. The firm’s Growth Buyout team invests in healthcare and pharmaceutical services, medical products and related sectors. The Life Sciences team invests in therapeutics and related areas that are addressing unmet medical needs through innovation. Frazier has offices in Seattle, WA and Menlo Park, CA, and invests broadly across the US, Canada, and Europe. For more information about Frazier Healthcare Partners, visit the company’s website at www.frazierhealthcare.com.