In addition to the transactions, Eikon has concluded the initial portion of a Series C equity financing, securing approximately $106m in funding that will significantly bolster its clinical programmes


Eikon Therapeutics buys global rights to several clinical-stage assets. (Credit: Tatiana from Pixabay)

Biotechnology firm Eikon Therapeutics has acquired exclusive rights to multiple early- to mid-stage assets, leveraging its proprietary Single Molecule Tracking (SMT) technology to inform strategic decisions regarding its new drug pipeline.

Eikon has successfully completed three transactions. Firstly, it acquired global rights to develop and commercialise clinical-stage Toll-like receptor 7 and 8 (TLR7/8) agonist immune modulators from Seven and Eight Biotherapeutics. These immune modulators have undergone testing in over 150 patients with advanced, refractory solid tumours, demonstrating tolerable safety and efficacy both as standalone treatments and in combination with PD-(L)1 inhibitors.

Secondly, the company has licensed a portfolio of PARP1-selective inhibitors developed by Impact Therapeutics. These inhibitors are intended to enhance the effectiveness of current non-selective dual PARP1/2 inhibitory agents in cancer treatment.

Lastly, Eikon has acquired a suite of preclinical assets from Cleave Therapeutics. These assets target areas involved in protein homeostasis, DNA damage repair, and chromatin remodelling, which are significant in both cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

Eikon Therapeutics CEO and board chair Roger Perlmutter said: “With the acquisition of these very different clinical assets, Eikon has taken an important step in building a diverse portfolio, at different stages of the development cycle, which address significant unmet medical needs.

“Our team brings decades of clinical and regulatory experience to these development programs, combined with scientific rigour born from the integration of advanced engineering, sophisticated data analysis, and breakthrough research utilizing AI-powered super-resolution microscopy.

“Each of these new programmes will complement the progress we have made in our pioneering discovery platform, translating protein population dynamics measurements into discoveries that will enable the development of important new medicines.”

In addition to finalizing these business development transactions, Eikon has concluded the initial portion of a Series C equity financing, securing approximately $106m in funding that will significantly bolster its clinical programmes. This initial close of the Series C round brings the total capital raised by Eikon to nearly $775m since its establishment in late 2019. The financing involved substantial participation from existing investors, along with the addition of several new strategic investors.

Seven and Eight Biotherapeutics CEO Walter Lau said: “We are delighted the Eikon team will continue our progress in the TLR7/8 field and will conduct the future clinical development and ultimately commercialise our novel TLR7/8 agonists.

“Eikon and its highly experienced immuno-oncology team has a proven track record of developing and commercialising industry-leading anti-PD-1 therapies, and we believe they will be uniquely positioned to advance our first-in-class TLR7/8 agonists as potential treatments for multiple tumour types.”

As part of its agreement with Impact Therapeutics, Eikon will collaborate to advance the IND-ready asset IMP1734, a highly selective PARP1 inhibitor, into clinical development. Under the collaboration agreement, Eikon has obtained an exclusive license to co-develop, register, manufacture, and commercialize IMP1734 and other PARP1 selective inhibitors worldwide, with the exception of Greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan).

Eikon and Impact have plans to submit a U.S. Investigational New Drug (IND) Application for this program by the end of the third quarter of 2023. The partnership also encompasses a second brain-penetrant PARP1-selective inhibitor, which Eikon will collaborate with Impact to advance into clinical trials.

Impact CEO Sui Xiong Cai said: “The Eikon team brings years of experience in oncology to the development of these important assets. Our companies are aligned in our vision of providing new and better treatment options to cancer patients globally.”

Eikon is currently focusing on preclinical drug candidates in the fields of oncology, immunology, and neurologic disease. The development of these early-stage candidates is supported by Eikon’s innovative use of super-resolution microscopy, which allows for the measurement of protein population dynamics in millions of live cells per day, in real time. This advanced technology provides crucial insights into the interactions among proteins in both normal and diseased cells, providing fundamental information for drug development.

In addition to supporting the development of internally developed programs, Eikon’s proprietary instruments will also contribute to advancing the TLR7/8 agonists, PARP1-selective inhibitors, and other therapeutic candidates that have been licensed. These instruments, driven by sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), enable precise measurements of protein population dynamics. The insights gained from these measurements will play a pivotal role in influencing the design of clinical trials for these candidates.

Eikon chief medical officer Roy Baynes said: “Our business development strategy is focused on high-potential assets that Eikon is uniquely positioned to develop, and which complement our internal discovery programs.

“Our team has a well-documented track record of developing some of the world’s most therapeutically meaningful and commercially successful medicines. This positions Eikon well to bring a broad range of new drug candidates successfully through regulatory review and approval to people who seek better treatments for a range of grievous illnesses.”