Roche-backed Bonum bags $93M series A to develop new class of conditionally active therapies

Roche-backed Bonum bags $93M series A to develop new class of conditionally active therapies

Good Therapeutics spinout Bonum Therapeutics has raked in $93 million to develop a new class of conditionally active therapies, with backing from Roche’s venture arm.

Bonum, which means “good” in Latin, is made up of Good Therapeutics’ 26 employees and led by John Mulligan, Ph.D., CEO and founder of both Bonum and Good. The new Seattle-based company is based around the same platform built at Good, a biotech Roche acquired in September for $250 million. The Swiss pharma giant is now fully responsible for the global development and commercialization of Good’s preclinical PD1-regulated IL-2 receptor agonist program, while the rest of Good’s’ assets were shifted over to Bonum.

Bonum will be focused on using the platform to design conditionally active therapeutics that address other targets in cancer outside of PD-1-regulated IL-2 as well as autoimmune diseases, metabolic disease and pain management.

The platform and people aren’t the only things the biotech carried over from Good. All investors that backed Bonum’s predecessor—including Roche Venture Funds—participated in the series A financing, alongside new investor Vivo Capital.

Bonum will funnel the $93 million into developing immuno-oncology applications that aim to regulate cytokines, including IL-12, IFN-alpha and TGF-beta. The company also intends to pursue additional applications in other disease areas via potential partnerships.

“We’re not going to take every program we can do into the clinic or further,” Mulligan told Fierce Biotech in September. “We’re also interested in discussions with partners who could bring in some other piece of biology in their interest area—like autoimmunity or metabolic disease—where this mechanism can be applied.”

Conditionally active therapeutics are a new class of investigational drugs designed to offer potent activity only where it’s needed. Bonum’s context-dependent molecules combine an antibody sensor directed against a specific marker and a therapeutic component that activates only when the sensor has bound to its target. The therapeutic component can be regulated by any molecule that an antibody can bind to, and the shape of the molecule is determined by the antibody bonding. Unlike other conditional approaches, Bonum’s therapeutics are designed to activate only when the antibody sensor binds to its target in order to develop more effective and less toxic treatments.

“We believe that this technology has broad potential and we are excited to apply it in new areas, developing drugs that act only when and where they are needed,” Mulligan said in a release Tuesday.

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