- Convergent Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing radiopharmaceuticals for cancer, said Wednesday that it has raised $90 million in a Series A financing led by venture investors OrbiMed and RA Capital Management.
- The funding will help Convergent advance is pipeline of “radioantibodies,” including its lead experimental treatment for prostate cancer.
- Research into radiopharmaceuticals, which typically pair a radioactive particle with a targeting compound, has accelerated in recent years, with a number of startups joining large drugmakers like Novartis in exploring the field.
While radiopharmaceuticals can be difficult to manufacture, they are an attractive way to more selectively direct radiation to tumor cells while sparing healthy tissue.
Prostate cancer in particular has been a target of choice for radiopharmaceutical developers looking to add new drugs to surgery, chemotherapy and hormonal treatment options. Novartis, for instance, sells a radiopharmaceutical called Pluvicto for advanced forms of prostate cancer. (It also sells another radiopharmaceutical, Lutathera, for tumors of the pancreas or gastrointestinal tract.)
Convergent’s main candidate, dubbed CONV01-α, is a monoclonal antibody linked to the radioactive particle actinium-225 and targeted to the prostate-specific membrane antigen. Once bound to this protein flag, the treatment releases alpha particles into the cancer cell, delivering a direct radioactive dose.
The technology was developed in the laboratory of Neil Bander, a Convergent co-founder and professor of urologic oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine, and licensed from Cornell University.
Convergent plans to advance CONV01-α into the next phase of clinical development, while exploring other radioantibody treatment candidates. According to a federal database of clinical trials, Convergent is currently working with the Weill Medical College on a Phase 1 clinical trial of an actinium-based radiopharmaceutical in men with prostate cancer.