RARE Daily

Zenas BioPharma Secures $118 Million to Advance Broad Pipeline of Autoimmune Disease Therapeutics

November 8, 2022

Rare Daily Staff

Zenas BioPharma raise $118 in a series B equity financing that will support advancing a pipeline of programs targeting autoimmune and rare diseases.

Enavate Sciences led the Series B equity financing, with participation by new investors Longitude Capital, Vivo Capital, Rock Springs Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Agent Capital, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, and Superstring Capital. Existing investors Fairmount, Wellington Management, Tellus BioVentures, Quan Venture Fund, and Xencor also participated in the financing, which included the infusion of new capital as well as the conversion of convertible notes issued to certain of the investors in advance of the closing of the series B financing.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Enavate and this top-tier group of global investors as we continue to advance our deep and balanced pipeline of clinical stage autoimmune therapeutics and execute our business development strategy,” said Lonnie Moulder, founder and executive chairman of Zenas BioPharma.

Proceeds from the financing will support the clinical advancement of the company’s lead product candidate obexelimab, including a global phase 3 registration trial in patients with IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD), which will be initiated in late 2022. In addition, the new funding will progress the company’s other global autoimmune disease programs into clinical development in 2023.

IgG4-RD is a chronic and serious, fibroinflammatory disease typically affecting multiple organs and sites (e.g., pancreas, liver, kidney, bile duct, salivary and lacrimal glands). Approximately 20,000 people are diagnosed with IgG4-RD in the United States, with similar prevalence rates across geographies. Many patients have some degree of irreversible organ damage at the time of diagnosis. Although nearly all patients initially respond to first line glucocorticoid (GC) therapy, chronic GC therapy is associated with toxicity and relapse is common as patients are tapered off or tapered to low doses.

Obexelimab is an investigational phase 3 stage, novel bifunctional antibody with first-in-class potential that inhibits B-cell lineages that express CD19.  Simultaneous binding to CD19 and FcƳRIIB by obexelimab mimics a natural antigen-antibody complex and down-regulates B-cell activity. In early-stage clinical studies, obexelimab effectively demonstrated inhibition of B-cell function without depleting the cells and generated an encouraging treatment effect in patients with multiple autoimmune diseases. Zenas acquired exclusive worldwide rights to obexelimab from Xencor.

In connection with the series B financing, Enavate Sciences CEO Jim Boylan, Longitude Capital Co-founder and Managing Director Patrick Enright, and Vivo Capital Managing Partner Hongbo Lu have joined the Zenas Board of Directors.

Photo: Lonnie Moulder, founder and executive chairman of Zenas BioPharma

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