Orum Therapeutics Raises $8 Million Series A Financing to Advance Cell-Penetrating Antibody Technology for Novel Cancer Therapeutics

Daejeon, South Korea, June 14, 2017 – Orum Therapeutics announced today the completion of an $8 million Series A financing with InterVest, KB Investment (KBIC)/Solidus Investment, and LB Investment. The proceeds of the funds will be used to advance Orum’s cell-penetrating antibody technology to create novel therapeutics. In addition, Yeo Jung Moon, M.D, Ph.D., Investment Division Director at Intervest, will join Orum’s board of directors.

“We were impressed with Orum’s cell-penetrating antibody platform, which can transform antibodies to effectively target undruggable cytosolic targets, without chemical conjugation and with target cell specificity,” said Dr. Moon. “We look forward to providing our expertise and guidance as the company creates new treatments for cancer and rare diseases.”

“We are honored to work with leading Korean venture capital firms, who have the experience in early-stage biotechnology companies,” Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Orum Therapeutics. “The financing will support our first program in oncology targeting activated RAS protein, a highly-validated cancer drug target involved in aggressive cancers.”

RAS proteins function to transmit signals within cells that control cell growth, differentiation and survival. Mutations found in human cancers result in RAS being constitutively activated. Although the pivotal role of RAS mutants in cancer initiation and progression was discovered nearly 35 years ago, previous efforts to develop agents directly targeting activated RAS have been plagued with the undruggable properties of RAS mutants.

Scientists from Ajou University and Orum Therapeutics recently published a paper in Nature Communications describing the preclinical characterization of a cytosol-penetrating and then Ras targeting antibody designed with Orum’s technology. The data showed that systemic administration of the antibody could selectively inhibit activated RAS to achieve anti-tumor activity for human colorectal and fibrosarcoma xenograft tumors in mice.

“The recent publication supported the further development of our cell-penetrating antibodies as an anti-cancer agent," said Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Orum Therapeutics. “We believe our technology has the capacity to create the first-in-class RAS-targeted therapeutic antibody for pancreatic, colon and non-small cell lung cancers with RAS mutations.” 

About InterVest

Founded in 1999, InterVest Co., Ltd. is a venture capital firm specializing in startups and early stage businesses and provide pre-initial public offering financing through mezzanine and bridge transactions. It typically invests in biotechnology, healthcare, semiconductor, display, metal and non-metal, energy, machinery, nanotechnology, telecommunications equipment and services, wireless communication terminal-related hardware, computer, software and applications and digital content sectors in Korea. 

About KB Investment

Founded in 1990, KB Investment Co., Ltd. (KBIC) is one of Korea’s leading investment firms of venture capital and private equity funds with over USD$1.4 billion of asset under management as of December 2013. KBIC is a subsidiary of KB Financial Group, Korea’s premier financial group with the largest domestic customer base as well as the widest network of service branches in Korea. For more information: http://www.kbic.co.kr/eng/about/summary.asp.

About Solidus Investment

Founded in 2011 by CHA Medical Center Group, Solidus Investment Co., Ltd is a venture capital firm focused on discovering and investing in companies with growth potential in green energy, IT, and biotechnology, including agricultural and marine products. For more information: http://www.solidusvc.com/eng/.

About LB Investment

Founded in 1996, LB Investment is a venture capital firm that is known as one the best and most active fund managers in Korea. The company has repeatedly received the A+ grade since the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) started VC evaluation. LB opened its Shanghai office in 2007 and has expanded its investment area into growth equity since the implementation of capital market act. LB Investment makes trendsetting investments in high-growth industries and technologies and provides proactive post-investment management with value-addition by utilizing extensive proprietary networks in Korea and China. For more information, http://lbinvestment.com/english/. 

About Orum Therapeutics, Inc.

Orum Therapeutics is a private biotech company developing a new class of therapeutic antibodies to bring new medicines to patients with unmet medical needs. Orum leverages its unique cell penetrating antibody platform to inhibit drug targets undruggable by small molecule or current antibody therapeutics. In contrast to other approaches, Orum’s antibody platform can target specific cell types, is easily adaptable to target different cell types and different intracellular proteins, and does not require chemical modification. This provides new opportunities to treat severe genetic diseases and cancer.

FierceBiotech: Cell-penetrating antibodies could crack 'undruggable' cancer mutation

The paper published in Nature Communications by scientists at Ajou University and Orum Therapeutics was covered by multiple media outlets. The paper describes the preclinical characterization of a novel monoclonal antibody, called RT11-i, designed to be internalized by the cell and to directly target the activated form of RAS. This data shows that  Orum's cell penetrating antibody technology has the ability to selectively inhibit activated RAS to achieve anti-tumor activity with a systemically administered monoclonal antibody.

FierceBiotech notes, "Successfully blocking RAS activity could be important for often deadly pancreatic cancers, 95% of which have RAS mutations, as well as for colorectal cancer (45%), lung cancer (35%) and melanoma, the deadliest of the skin cancers."

Read more here:

Cell-Penetrating Antibodies to Oncogenic RAS Show Anti-Tumor Activity

The technology is being further developed by Orum Therapeutics

Daejeon, South Korea, May 10, 2017 – The RAS gene family are the most commonly mutated oncogenes, involved in approximately 30% of all human cancers, but have eluded drug discovery efforts for over 30 years. With data published today in Nature Communications, researchers have gotten one step closer to developing a drug that targets RAS.

RAS proteins function to transmit signals within cells that control cell growth, differentiation and survival, and mutations found in human cancers result in RAS being constitutively activated. In addition to playing a role in tumor formation, tumors containing activating RAS mutations are often aggressive and do not respond to current therapies, including drugs targeting EGFR such as cetuximab (Erbitux®). Despite its prominent role in human cancer, previous efforts to directly target activated RAS have failed to produce a therapy that works in humans.

“Discovered nearly 35 years ago, the mutant RAS protein has been considered a highly-validated cancer drug target, but also has a reputation as being undruggable,” said Yong Sung Kim, Ph.D., principle investigator on the paper, co-founder of Orum Therapeutics, and professor, Department of Molecular Science and Technology at Ajou University, Korea.

The paper published today by scientists at Ajou University and Orum Therapeutics describes the preclinical characterization of a novel monoclonal antibody, called RT11-i, designed to be internalized by the cell and to directly target the activated form of RAS. The data shows that RT11-i binding is specific to activated RAS, binds these proteins inside the cell and blocks interactions with effector proteins, and results in inhibition of downstream oncogenic signaling. When given to tumor-bearing mice, RT11-i inhibited tumor growth in several xenograft models and shown to be well tolerated.

Dr. Kim explained, “This data shows that with our cell penetrating antibody technology, we now have the ability to selectively inhibit activated RAS to achieve anti-tumor activity with a systemically administered monoclonal antibody. Additional data suggests the combination of RT11-i and an anti-EGFR therapy might be an effective clinical strategy for patients with advanced colon cancer who have oncogenic RAS mutations.”

When tested in xenograft models of human cancer, RT11-i had preferential accumulation in tumor tissue and demonstrated measureable anti-tumor activity in mice where the tumor contained an activating RAS mutation. In addition, in a xenograft mouse model of colorectal cancer resistant to cetuximab, which targets EGFR, co-adminstration of cetuximab and RT11-i was shown to overcome resistance to cetuximab. 

“As an anti-cancer therapy, our cell penetrating antibodies are easy to produce, allow for systemic administration that is well tolerated, and have desirable pharmacological properties,” said Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Orum Therapeutics. “We believe this could be a very important first-in-class therapeutic for hard-to-treat pancreatic, colon and non-small cell lung cancers.”

The paper entitled, “Antibody targeting intracellular oncogenic Ras mutants exerts anti-tumor effects after systemic administration,” was published online today in Nature Communications, and can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15090.   

This work was supported by grants from the Pioneer Research Center Program (2014M3C1A3051470) and the Global Frontier Project (2013M3A6A4043874) from the National Research Foundation (NRF), funded by the Republic of Korea.

About Orum Therapeutics, Inc.

Orum Therapeutics is a private biotech company developing a new class of therapeutic antibodies to bring new medicines to patients with unmet medical needs. Orum leverages its unique cell penetrating antibody platform to inhibit drug targets undruggable by small molecule or current antibody therapeutics. In contrast to other approaches, Orum’s antibody platform can target specific cell types, is easily adaptable to target different cell types and different intracellular proteins, and does not require chemical modification. This provides new opportunities to treat severe genetic diseases and cancer. 

Orum Therapeutics Selected for South Korea’s Prestigious Tech Incubator Program for Startup

Daejeon, South Korea, December 21, 2016 – Orum Therapeutics today announced that it has been selected to participate in the Tech Incubator Program for Startup (TIPS), a program from South Korea’s Small and Medium Business Administration to support promising startups in the industry.

Orum is a private biotech creating the next generation of antibody therapies. The company leverages its cell penetrating antibody platform that is able to transform antibodies to effectively target undruggable cytosolic targets, such as KRAS. In contrast to other approaches, Orum’s antibody platform can target specific cell types and does not require chemical conjugation.

“We are honored to be named by TIPS as one of the most promising startups in Korea,” said Sung Joo Lee, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Orum Therapeutics. “Since launching the company this year with angel investment from KITE Entrepreneurship Foundation, we built a team with a strong sense of purpose and have advanced our lead program targeting KRAS with the goal of bringing new medicines to cancer patients who have no other options.”

TIPS, or Tech Incubator Program for Startup, provides R&D grants up to five-fold the amount of investments by pre-qualified angel investors. International and national angel investors and companies interested in early-stage investments can apply to qualify for the program. In addition to amplifying early angel investments, TIPS offers angel investor networking, company incubation, and mentoring and professional support. 

“We review a number of opportunities to identify startups with breakthrough technologies,” said Chulwhan Kim, CEO of the KITE Entrepreneurship Foundation. “We are pleased to not only invest in Orum Therapeutics but also to partner with the TIPS program, who amplifies and strengthens our investment.”

About Orum Therapeutics, Inc.

Orum Therapeutics is a private biotech company developing a new class of antibody therapeutics to bring new medicines to patients who have no other options. Orum leverages its unique cell penetrating antibody platform to inhibit cytosolic targets unapproachable by small molecule or therapeutics antibodies. This provides new opportunities to treat severe genetic diseases and cancer. More information about Orum Therapeutics is available at http://www.orumrx.com.

About TIPS (Accelerator Investment-Driven Tech Incubator Program for Startup)

TIPS is designed to identify and nurture the most promising startups with innovative ideas and groundbreaking technologies. It appoints and designates successful angel startup founders – who are now angel investors and leaders of technological enterprises – as their incubators/accelerators. More information is available at http://www.jointips.or.kr/about_en.php.

About KITE Entrepreneurship Foundation

KITE is a privately funded angel investment foundation lead by Chulhwan Kim, a successful entrepreneur. KITE identifies, invests and nurtures tech-focused startup teams with a mission to build a supportive environment for entrepreneurs who in return supports other entrepreneurs. For more information, http://www.kiteef.or.kr/smain.html.