invoX Pharma, a UK-based wholly-owned subsidiary of Sino Biopharmaceutical, with an advancing pipeline of innovative products, has completed a second tranche of investment in pHion Therapeutics, a next-generation mRNA vaccine company.
pHion is developing a pipeline of therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines focussed on oncology and infectious diseases. The company’s proprietary RALA platform can deliver anionic molecules such as mRNA and saRNA in a stealth-like way, evading detection, to generate a potent antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell response.
The RALA peptide-based drug delivery system is based on a sequence of 30 amino acids which condenses anionic cargo, irrespective of size, into nanoparticles that are highly efficient at cellular entry and can outperform currently available technologies. Compared with traditional mRNA vaccine delivery platforms, the RALA platform has the added advantage of ease of scalability and logistics, including stability at room temperature.
Under the leadership of CEO and Founder, Professor Helen McCarthy, pHion has made significant progress since invoX’s initial investment in June 2021, with advances made across all pre-clinical programs and the establishment of a laboratory in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the production of pHion’s mRNA vaccines. The additional investment will support growth of the company’s proprietary RALA platform with an immediate focus on the advancement of pHion’s lead project, PTX_V1, into clinical trials in the first half of 2024.
PTX_V1 is a first-in-class therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of human papilloma virus (HPV)-related cancers. Infection with HPV is responsible for approximately 90% of cervical cancers and up to 70% of oropharyngeal cancers, with a high unmet clinical need. pHion’s pipeline also includes differentiated therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of ovarian (PTX_V5) and prostate (PTX_V3) cancers.
This investment has received all required regulatory approvals, including clearance from the regulatory agency in charge of enforcing the U.K.’s National Security and Investment Act, testimony to invoX’s continued willingness to build trust and work closely with regulators.
McCarthy said: “At pHion Therapeutics, it is our mission to pioneer next generation, first-in-class vaccines for infectious disease and oncology through stealth-like delivery of mRNA. With the additional support from invoX, we are set to accelerate our lead candidate, PTX_V1, to be ready for the clinic in 2024 and further develop our exciting preclinical pipeline of therapeutic and prophylactic mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines have the potential to truly transform healthcare interventions globally, and pHion will be at the forefront of this transformation, enabled by the RALA platform delivery technology.”