iOnctura announces €80m to progress pipeline  


iOnctura has closed an €80 million Series B financing to continue developing a portfolio of precision oral small molecules that target cancers in novel ways.  

The funding round was led by new investor Syncona Limited with participation by the EIC Fund, the venture arm of the European Innovation Council (EIC), as well as existing investors M Ventures, Inkef Capital, VI Partners, Schroders Capital and 3B Future Health Fund. 

iOnctura’s new treatments extend lives and improve healthspans, which could change the outlook for patients and their families. The company has progressed two therapeutic candidates into mid-stage clinical development.  

Roginolisib: an allosteric modulator of PI3Kδ

Lead asset roginolisib is the first allosteric modulator of PI3Kδ, with a unique chemical structure and binding mode. It is being developed for indications burdened by immune mediated resistance and a high expression of PI3Kδ in cancer cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells. Roginolisib has potential to become the first successful, clinically meaningful therapy to target the critical PI3Kδ cancer pathway. It has demonstrated an unprecedented and first-in-class clinical profile in solid and haematological malignancies, with over 48 patients treated to date.   

The financing will be used to accelerate development of roginolisib for the treatment of uveal melanoma (UM), a rare cancer of the eye with few available treatments. Eye melanoma is a rapidly growing market which is projected to be worth $9.56 billion by 20321. In a Phase Ib clinical trial, roginolisib demonstrated long-term safety and promising efficacy in UM with sustained clinical activity over many months. Full results will be announced in the coming months.   

The successful UM data reported so far, combined with a rich preclinical data package, supports the rationale to expand into other indications. iOnctura plans to commence trials in other cancer indications, including non-small cell lung cancer and primary myelofibrosis, later in 2024.  

Cambritaxestat: an autotaxin inhibitor for cancer

iOnctura’s second clinical asset, cambritaxestat, is an autotaxin inhibitor in clinical development to treat cancer. It has shown excellent potency and specificity, and is being developed for highly fibrotic tumours that overexpress autotaxin. A Phase Ib study of cambritaxestat in combination with chemotherapy in metastatic pancreatic cancer is ongoing. 

Catherine Pickering, Chief Executive Officer, iOnctura, said: “These therapies have the potential to significantly prolong the healthspan of patients suffering with neglected cancer types, such as uveal melanoma.” 

Roel Bulthuis, Managing Partner and Head of Investments at Syncona and Board member of iOnctura, added: “To date, no company has been able to successfully target this well-known cancer pathway with sufficient precision. By allosterically modulating PI3Kδ, iOnctura has achieved a new level of precision and could be the first company to develop a clinically meaningful medicine targeting this pathway. Its programmes have potential utility across a range of cancers, which we are supporting the company to unlock through a refined clinical strategy.” 

Last year, DDW’s Megan Thomas interviewed Giusy Di Conza, Head of Research at iOnctura. Read more here 

Megan Thomas, Multimedia Editor, DDW

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