Oxitope Pharma and Arxx Therapeutics, companies with a shared goal of leveraging the innate immune system to discover and develop disease modulating therapies, has announced their merger to form Calluna Pharma.
Calluna has raised €75 million in a series A financing and is backed by Oxitope and Arxx’s existing lead investors, Forbion, Sarsia, p53, and Investinor.
The new company will combine expertise in the field of innate immunity, based on damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), with a pipeline of selective antibodies that target inflammatory and fibrotic indications, including several first-in-class clinical candidates.
Calluna is developing novel therapies that harness the transformative potential of the body’s immune system. The company’s approach involves precision targeting of upstream innate immune amplifiers, enabling disruption of a comprehensive range of disease-associated downstream signaling pathways while maintaining a favorable safety profile. As a result, Calluna has developed a robust pipeline of selective antibodies, targeting immunological diseases. These include novel therapeutic candidates that fulfil unmet clinical needs across a spectrum of diseases, driven by acute or chronic inflammation and non-resolving tissue fibrosis.
Clinical pipeline potential
Calluna has four therapies in its pipeline. Its clinical stage lead program, CAL101, is a monoclonal antibody that neutralises the bioactivity of S100A4, a DAMP protein implicated in serious and life-threatening diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe (steroid insensitive) asthma.
Another of its programs, CAL102, is a monoclonal antibody neutralising oxidised phospholipids – these play a significant role in onset and progression of a wide range of acute and chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. CAL102 demonstrated efficacy in several preclinical disease models.
Dr John Montana, Chief Executive Officer of Calluna Pharma, commented: “In joining forces, these two key players in the innate immunology space have created an exciting new clinical company that has four promising therapies in its pipeline with excellent preclinical proof-of-concept data. By innovating beyond traditional treatment strategies, Calluna offers clinical candidates with superior efficacy, improved patient tolerance, and minimal adverse side effects which have real potential to redefine patient outcomes.”