BOSTON–ImmunoMolecular Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing personalized therapies for autoimmune disease, announced that it has raised $10 million in Series A financing to advance its novel HLA-targeted discovery platform and develop its lead drug candidate in type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The funding was co-led by the JDRF T1D Fund and Morningside Ventures, with participation from the Colorado University Healthcare Innovation Fund.
IM Therapeutics was founded by world-class physician scientists at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado. Their seminal research showed that blocking action of certain human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene variants known to be high risk factors blocks the corresponding autoimmune response. As the first such personalized therapy approach in autoimmunity, the Company demonstrated this in a Phase 1b human study in patients recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes who were positive for the HLA DQ8 variant. The study was funded in part by JDRF. The Company is advancing its lead oral drug, IMT-002, through IND development for type 1 diabetes and expanding its core therapeutic platform of HLA blockade to other targets of autoimmune disorders including celiac disease.
“Our value has been clear since day one – getting to the root cause of autoimmunity with a targeted therapy approach and making an impact on diseases such as type 1 diabetes,” said Nandan Padukone, Ph.D., CEO of IM Therapeutics. “We believe the expertise brought by the JDRF T1D Fund and Morningside Ventures will help us build a broad portfolio in autoimmune disease.” Dr. Padukone worked with the T1D Fund team as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and with IM Therapeutics founders, Drs. Peter Gottlieb and Aaron Michels, to launch the Company’s platform and advance its clinical pipeline.
“We are excited to be a lead investor in IM Therapeutics and are encouraged by the early results of their lead drug in T1D,” said Katie Ellias, Managing Director, at the JDRF T1D Fund. “We believe the company’s platform could be a game-changer not only for T1D but also for other autoimmune diseases.”
IM Therapeutics’ innovative therapeutic approach is currently directed at HLA-DQ8 and DQ2 variants known to predispose individuals to both T1D and Celiac disease. HLA-DQ8 is present in about 60% of T1D patients and in 10% of Celiac disease, while nearly 100% of Celiac patients have DQ2 and/or DQ8 with DQ2 present in about 90% of Celiac disease. The Company has been the first to demonstrate in a clinical study that treating patients based on HLA DQ8 can inhibit the autoimmune response in T1D. With a robust technology platform in place that combines computational chemistry, bioassays, and rational drug design, IM Therapeutics is developing a pipeline against HLA targets in various autoimmune diseases.
Sean Doherty, Executive Chairman, JDRF T1D Fund and Dr. Jason Dinges, Investment Advisor, Morningside Ventures, have joined the IM Therapeutics Board of Directors.