Pandion Pulls In $80M as Ulcerative Colitis Drug Advances in Clinic

Xconomy Boston — 

Pandion Therapeutics emerged in 2018 aiming to reach clinic trials in two years testing its biologic drugs in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The company now has $80 million to support a lead program in early-stage testing and a pipeline of potential treatments.

Access Biotechnology and Boxer Capital led the Series B round of funding announced Wednesday.

Pandion is developing drugs intended to treat autoimmune diseases by fixing the immune system imbalance that leads to these conditions. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech’s drugs are proteins and antibodies engineered to home in on a site of autoimmune disease or inflammation. These drugs then activate pathways of the immune system to tamp down the excessive immune response causing the disorder.

Pandion’s lead drug, PT101, is a protein engineered to expand the activity of regulatory T cells (Tregs), immune cells whose role is to suppress excessive immune system responses. Last month, the company dosed the first patient in a Phase 1 study in ulcerative colitis, a disease characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the large intestine. The company says the drug could also have applications treating other autoimmune disorders. In addition to its internal R&D, Pandion also has a partnership with Astellas Pharma focused on developing treatments for type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases of the pancreas.

There are other companies trying to tap into the immune system’s pathways as a way of treating disease. In February, Sonoma Biotherapeutics launched with $40 million in financing to support its preclinical Treg research.

With its new funding, Pandion says it will continue clinical development of its lead program and bring a second one into human testing. Its pipeline includes compounds in preclinical development for autoimmune disorders of the liver and the skin, kidney conditions, and type 1 diabetes. The company also plans to expand the technology platform used to design its drugs.

Pandion’s 2018 Series A financing raised $58 million. That round brought on board as investors Polaris Partners, Versant Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, SR One, JDRF T1D Fund, and BioInnovation Capital. Those investors also participated in the Series B round, joined by new backers RA Capital and OrbiMed.

Image: iStock/cgtoolbox