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SciRhom GmbH closes €63m Series A financing

German iRhom2-targeted antibody specialist SciRhom GmbH has closed an oversubscribed €63m Series A financing that will be used to provide clinical proof of concept in autoimmune disorders.

SciRhom GmbH’s Series A financing was co-led by Andera Partners, Kurma Partners, Hadean Ventures, MIG Capital, and Wellington Partners – new investor Bayern Kapital and existing investors iHigh-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and PhiFund Ventures also participated. According to SciRhom, the proceeds will be used to accelerate and broaden the impact of the company’s TACE pathway-targeted programmes in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well as – in the longer term – oncological, infectious, and metabolic diseases. The first clinical study evaluating SR-878, a humanised monoclonal antibody targeting iRhom2, is expected to start dosing in H2/2024.

TACE (TNF-alpha converting enzyme, also known as ADAM17) controls several major signaling pathways, including TNF-alpha, IL-6R, and EGFR signaling. TACE is therefore widely accepted as a potential target to block pro-inflammatory pathways, but direct inhibition of TACE causes severe side effects. The more recent discovery that iRhom2 (inactive Rhomboid 2, RHBDF2) simultaneously and very specifically regulates the TACE-dependent release of TNF-alpha, IL-6R, and EGFR signaling, while preserving other vital functions dependent on TACE/ADAM17.

SciRhom was co-founded in 2016 by Carl Blobel and and Axel Ullrich to provide a new treatment paradigm by selectively addressing TACE/ADAM17, a master switch for various autoimmune disease-relevant signaling pathways, via iRhom2. The SciRhom team collaborated closely with co-founders Prof. Dr Carl Blobel and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the world’s leading academic medical center specialized inRheumatology and musculoskeletal health.

SciRhom’s USP is its ability to attack multiple cytokines and to potentially promote immune tolerance through restoring beneficial TNFR2 signaling, and regulatory T-cell expansion. Moreover, elective targeting of iRhom2 is expected to have a favorable safety profile.

Based on promising preclinical data sets generated in vitro and in established animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), SciRhom has advanced its first program to a Phase I-ready stage. As announced on June 12th, 2024, the first CTA approval was achieved paving the way for initiating a first clinical study in Austria in the second half of H2/2024. The study aims to evaluate safety in healthy volunteers and provide initial hints to clinical benefit in the second part of the study.

Investors stated that “iRhom2 is a key driver of inflammation and SR-878 offers a first-in-class opportunity for multi-pathway inhibition as well as promoting immune and tissue homeostasis. This approach has a transformative potential for patients with autoimmune diseases that are currently difficult to treat with existing drugs”