RARE Daily

Lassen Therapeutics Launches with $31 Million to Target Fibrosis and Oncology

June 18, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Lassen Therapeutics has emerged from stealth and secured $31 million in series A financing to develop antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis, rare diseases, and oncology.

Frazier Healthcare Partners led the financing 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, a global biotechnology company with research and development facilities headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.

Co-founders Mark Barrett and David King have collectively brought more than twenty antibody therapeutics into the clinic with several on the market in the areas of oncology and inflammation.

“IL-11 is a novel target and blocking the IL-11 pathway represents an exciting therapeutic approach for both fibrosis and oncology,” said Barrett, CEO of Lassen. “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 their agreement with CSL, Andrew Nash, senior vice president of research at CSL, will join Lassen’s scientific advisory board.

Lassen 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.


Photo: Mark Barrett, CEO of Lassen


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