Portland, Oregon — PDX Pharmaceuticals, a privately held company developing first-in-class nanotechnology-based therapies for treating cancer, received a second round of Series A funding in the amount of $2 million from the Kuni Foundation.
PDX Pharmaceuticals, a startup that originated in the Biomedical Engineering Department of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in collaboration with the Knight Cancer Institute, has developed a new class of therapeutics based on co-delivery of siRNA and drugs on immuno-nanoparticles. The OHSU Knight Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle, an honor earned only by the nation’s top cancer centers.
PDX’s CEO and Founder, Wassana Yantasee, PhD commented: “My team and I are excited to embark on this next phase of our clinical development initiatives with the intention of vastly improving the efficacy of currently approved cancer therapies, overcoming drug resistance to targeted therapies, and triggering antitumor immunity in cancer patients. We are truly fortunate to have the strategic and financial backing of the Kuni Foundation, contributing invaluable leadership and financial support to PDX as we continue to execute our mission of developing and commercializing next-generation, highly-effective therapies in oncology.”
PDX Pharmaceuticals is conducting Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies of its first drug candidate, AIRISE, a novel intra-tumoral immunotherapy injected into solid tumors such as melanoma, breast, colorectal and head and neck cancer. AIRISE utilizes tumor antigens “in situ” to generate anti-tumor immune effects to attack cancer cells anywhere in the body, including metastatic cancer. One of PDX’s key priorities is to study the effect of adding its nano-based AIRISE to FDA-approved immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). ICIs currently do not work in many patients due to the lack of existing anti-tumor immune cells and immunosuppression in tumors, and AIRISE overcomes these limitations. The addition of AIRISE to widely prescribed immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies has shown a profound increase in tumor killing activity and cure rates in preclinical studies, and PDX expects that its clinical studies will demonstrate this similar performance in humans.
Dr. Yantasee and her team have raised more than $11 million of growth financing and support from organizations including the National Institutes of Health. The nanoparticle technology was jointly developed with Oregon Health & Science University, funded by the Knight Cancer Institute, Prospect Creek Foundation, Hillcrest Committee, OHSU Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving and the Kuni Foundation. This most recent round of funding from the Kuni Foundation will propel the research to further advance the company’s compelling scientific findings to date.
“This next round of investment underscores our excitement regarding the progress Wassana and her team have made and our confidence in the potential of this approach,” said Greg Goodwin, Board Chair of the Kuni Foundation. “This is an example of the kind of innovative thinking that will lead to better outcomes for cancer patients, while also improving accessibility and affordability.”
About PDX Pharmaceuticals
PDX Pharmaceuticals is a privately held biopharmaceutical company committed to developing first-in-class cancer therapies by combining nanotechnology and cancer systems biology to address unmet clinical needs. For more information, please visit www.pdxpharm.com
About the Kuni Foundation
Based in Vancouver, Washington, the Kuni Foundation harnesses the power of possibility by funding innovative cancer research and supporting programs and initiatives that enhance the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. Learn more by visiting www.kunifoundation.org or @KuniFoundation.
Wassana Yantasee, Ph.D, MBA