KAHR, a Jerusalem-based cancer immunotherapy company developing novel multifunctional immuno-recruitment proteins, has closed an investment round raising $46.5 million. The financing was led by aMoon with participation from new investors BVF Partners LP, DAFNA Capital Management LLC, Peregrine Ventures, Shavit Capital, and the Cancer Focus Fund. Existing investors also participated in this financing, including Flerie Invest AB, Oriella Limited (CBG, chaired by Vincent Tchenghiz), Pavilion Capital, Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd (HBL), and Mirae Asset. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and Solebury Capital acted as placement agents for the offering.
The proceeds will enable further clinical development of DSP107, a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting fusion protein, for the treatment of solid and hematological tumors and accelerate the path towards clinical development of the Company’s preclinical pipeline.
Proceeds from the financing are being used to advance clinical development of KAHR’s lead product candidate, DSP107, a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting fusion protein for the treatment of solid and blood cancers, through multiple Phase 1/2 studies as well as the development of its preclinical pipeline including DSP502, a TIGITxPD1 fusion protein and DSP216 a LILRB2xSIRPa fusion protein, through IND-enabling studies.
“The successful financing round of this respected syndicate of investors is a testament to our breakthrough technology platforms and promising next-generation multifunctional immunotherapeutic pipeline,” said Yaron Pereg, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of KAHR. “Cancer treatment is challenging in that cancer cells continuously change and develop resistance to existing treatments. Another notable hurdle is the ability of cancer cells to evade recognition and elimination by the body’s own immune system. Our novel, multi-pronged product candidates are specifically designed to address these challenges by unmasking cancer cells for immune recognition, and at the same time providing signals to effectively trigger a targeted synergistic activation of anticancer immunity.”
“Our unique approach positions us in the forefront of cancer immunotherapy, and through this financing, we can continue to advance our clinical asset and accelerate our preclinical projects into clinical development across multiple cancer indications for the benefit of patients who are non-responsive or refractory to existing immunotherapies,” added Yaron Pereg.
Gur Roshwalb MD, Partner, aMoon, said,” KAHR’s multifunctional immunotherapeutic platform has enormous potential to address unmet needs in immuno-oncology. We are particularly excited about KAHR’s differentiated first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound, which potentially harnesses both the innate and adaptive immune systems to target solid and hematologic tumors.”
KAHR develops smart immune-recruitment cancer drugs that activate a targeted immune response by converting cancer camouflage into beacons for the immune system to attack. The Company’s lead product candidate, DSP107 is a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound that simultaneously binds cancer cells and immune cells, linking them together for maximal activation of the immune system against the tumor. DSP107 is designed to weaken the tumor’s defenses on one hand, and activate an effective, local response of both innate and adaptive immunity on the other hand. Specifically, DSP107 binds to and inhibits CD47, an immune checkpoint protein overexpressed in many cancer types that enables the tumor to evade immune recognition and attack. DSP107 targets CD47-overexpressing tumors, simultaneously blocking macrophage inhibitory signals and delivering an immune costimulatory signal to tumor antigen-specific, activated T-cells. CD47 is overexpressed on many cancer cells and binds SIRPα on immune phagocytic cells to produce a “don’t eat me” signal. DSP107 binds CD47 on cancer cells, blocking interaction with SIRPα and thus, blocking the “don’t eat me signal”.Simultaneously, DSP107 binds 41BB on T-cells, stimulating their activation. These activities lead to targeted immune activation through both macrophage and T-cell mediated tumor destruction.
DSP107 is currently being tested in a Phase 1/2 multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation and expansion study assessing the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of DSP107 as a monotherapy and in combination with Roche’s PD-L1-blocking checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (TecentriqTM) ) in patients with advanced solid tumors. In addition, KAHR expects to initiate an open label, dose escalation and expansion Phase 1/2 study to evaluate the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of DSP107 as monotherapy and in combination with azacytidine or with axacytidine plus venetoclax in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and T-cell lymphoproliferative diseases in the coming months.
Established in 2005, KAHR is an immuno-oncology drug development company whose mission is to develop novel fusion protein pharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The Company’s lead product candidate, DSP107, is a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound that simultaneously targets cancer cells, weakens their innate defenses, and activates an effective, local response of both innate and adaptive immunity. KAHR’s technology platform is based on multi-functional immuno-recruitment proteins (MIRP) that utilize overexpression of checkpoint antigens on cancer cells to selectively target and bind to the tumor. MIRPs bridge cancer cells to immune cells to produce a targeted synergistic effect by combining immune checkpoint inhibition with localized immune cell activation, unmasking cancer cell camouflage to enable innate immune response, while recruiting the adaptive immune system to bind and selectively kill the cancer cells.
For more information please visit kahrbio.com
Tsipi Haitovsky, Global Media Liaison, KAHR
T: 972-52-598-9892 E: Tsipihai5 AT gmail.com
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