Company also announces appointment of biotech veteran Mike Grey as Chairman of the Board
SAN DIEGO, October 19, 2020 – Plexium Inc., a biotech company focused on discovering and developing protein degrading therapeutics directed towards historically challenging drug targets, today announced the completion of a $35M financing, led by Lux Capital and Pivotal BioVentures, with participation from The Column Group, DCVC Bio and other current investors. This financing, which is an extension of the company’s Series A from October 2019, raises Plexium’s Series A to $63M and will allow Plexium to accelerate the advancement of targeted, monovalent degraders through preclinical development, while also supporting research efforts aimed at understanding mechanisms and design principles for monovalent protein degraders.
In connection with the financing, Adam Goulburn, Partner at Lux Capital and Rob Hopfner, Managing Partner at Pivotal BioVentures will join the Plexium Board of Directors. Additionally, Mike Grey, Board Director at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Mirati Therapeutics, Horizon Therapeutics, and other biotech companies, with over 40 years of experience as an executive, founder and CEO of multiple biotech and pharmaceutical companies, joins the company as an Independent Director and Chairman of the Board.
“We are incredibly delighted to have the support of such outstanding investors and to welcome Mike to our Board as Chairman,” said Plexium CEO Swamy Vijayan. “Mike’s deep experience with company building and translating technology and insights into drugs will be invaluable to us as we continue to grow. With his guidance and the continued backing of our investors, we are looking forward to building an exciting pharmaceutical company on the back of our groundbreaking technical abilities.”
Mr. Grey added, “The field of protein degradation is one of the most rapidly advancing and promising categories in biotech today. Plexium is breaking new ground in the field with its novel DELPhe platform which provides researchers with the right tools to pick a target and selectively degrade it using a small molecule. I look forward to working with the accomplished team to lead the company into its next phase of growth.”
“We seek to invest in companies that are innovating at the edge of what is possible and Plexium is precisely that. Its platform will bring intelligent design to a process – manipulating protein binders to induce degradation – that has not been rationally designable and will therefore open up the entire field of previously undruggable targets,” said Adam Goulburn of Lux Capital.
Rob Hopfner from Pivotal BioVentures added, “Plexium stood out from other companies in the space in the creative application of DEL technology to enable very high speed and throughput discovery of protein degraders with more diverse mechanisms of action and better drug-like properties than the current state-of-the-art.”
About Targeted Protein Degradation and Plexium’s DELPhe Platform and Approach
Targeted protein degradation efforts have so far focused on large, flexible bivalent molecules whose termini bind independently to a target protein and components of the degradation machinery (e.g., an E3 ligase), inducing interactions that lead to target degradation. Monovalent degraders are true small molecules that bind singly, either to a target or an E3 ligase, leading to conformational distortions that result in degradation of the target. All known monovalent degraders have either been identified as such retrospectively, during molecular dissection of phenotypic results, or while non-specifically perturbing the proteasomal machinery.
The company’s DELPhe platform, named for DNA-Encoded Library (DEL) phenotypic (Phe) screening, is a unique drug discovery engine designed to identify novel small molecules that bind to E3 ligases. Targeting E3 ligases enables the selective modulation of protein levels in the cell, including the degradation of specific protein targets. Plexium employs DELPhe to obtain a broad view on the cellular response to E3 ligase modulation by a small molecule, profiling millions of small molecules in a single experiment. Plexium is advancing a pipeline of novel E3 ligase binding small molecules for multiple indications, including cancer and inflammatory disease indications.
Plexium is an emerging biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing protein degrading therapeutics to treat cancer and other serious diseases, utilizing the company’s DELPhe platform to identify novel small molecules that redirect E3 ligases to targets of interest or induce degradation of targets by directly binding to them. For more information, visit https://www.plexium.com/ and engage with us on LinkedIn.
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