IgGenix, Inc, today announced it completed a $10 million Series A financing. The financing was led by Khosla Ventures with participation from Parker Ventures and will be used to advance the company’s novel antibody therapeutics platform for the treatment of food and non-food allergies and other severe allergic conditions.
Founded in 2019 by Stephen Quake, D. Phil; Kari Nadeau, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.A.A.I.; Derek Croote, Ph.D., and Bruce Hironaka, IgGenix’s mission is to develop first-in-class therapies for the millions of people who suffer from food and non-food allergies and other severe allergic conditions. Through its unique antibody-based therapeutic platform, IgGenix captures and analyzes very rare human B cells that express allergen-binding antibodies, and then engineers them with powerful immune modulating activities derived from the IgG antibody class to suppress allergic reactions.
"The prevalence of severe food allergy for both children and adults continues to increase worldwide, with recent studies indicating that more than 200 million people are impacted," said Mr. Hironaka, CEO of IgGenix. "To date, while the awareness of severe food allergies is increasing, there remains a critical need for therapeutics that effectively block and even prevent life-threatening allergic reactions. We believe that through our novel antibody selection and engineering approach, we have the potential to improve the lives of millions of allergy sufferers."
Appointment of Richard Boismenu, Ph.D. as Chief Scientific OfficerIgGenix also announced the appointment of Richard Boismenu, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Dr. Boismenu brings over 20 years of research, drug development, strategy and executive leadership expertise to IgGenix. He joins IgGenix from Coherus Biosciences, where he served as vice president and head of product development. Prior to Coherus Biosciences, he worked for Genentech as project team leader where he led a number of immunology, ophthalmology and metabolic disorder development programs. Before Genentech, Dr. Boismenu was senior director at Repligen, where he oversaw the immunology and cell biology group. Earlier in his career, Dr. Boismenu was assistant professor of immunology at The Scripps Research Institute, where he also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Wendy Havran. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University and his B.Sc. from the Université de Montréal.
"No option exists today to treat the underlying mechanism of food allergy, yet severe food allergy can cause anaphylaxis and even death in many cases," commented Dr. Boismenu. "I’m excited to join IgGenix at this pivotal time. Our proprietary single-cell genomic platform for drug discovery allows us to search through large numbers of human B cells for those expressing rare antibodies capable of triggering allergic reactions. These antibodies can be engineered as therapeutics to protect against a wide range of allergies."
Derek Croote, Ph.D., Named as Chief Technical OfficerAs a co-founder of IgGenix, Dr. Croote is building upon pivotal work he performed in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Quake at Stanford University. His Ph.D. research focused on applying mass spectrometry, single-cell transcriptomics, next-generation sequencing, and bioinformatics to better understand a diverse set of diseases and immunological perturbations including food allergies, flu vaccination, dengue infection, and glioblastoma. He is the lead author of a publication in the peer-reviewed journal Science that describes the first characterization of single human IgE B cells and the allergen-specific antibodies they produce. He received his B.S. from Brown University and Ph.D. from Stanford University where he was a National Science Foundation and Stanford Graduate fellow.
"In individuals with allergies, specialized B cells produce IgE antibodies that recognize a specific allergen," stated Dr. Croote. "We know that these IgE antibodies, when bound to mast cells, initiate what can be a life-threatening cascade following even minimal exposure to an allergen. By intervening in the allergic cascade, we believe we have the potential to truly make a difference for patients suffering from severe allergic disease."
About IgGenixIgGenix is a privately-held biotechnology company taking a revolutionary approach to directly address food and other severe allergies by re-engineering key antibodies involved in the allergic cascade. IgGenix isolates and transforms allergen-specific IgE antibodies into IgG antibodies that are designed to alleviate and possibly prevent the allergic cascade. Through this completely novel approach to treating allergic disease, these treatments may be able to effectively block and even prevent life-threatening allergic reactions, while at the same time elucidating the role of the allergens themselves. IgGenix seeks to change the face of allergic disease, empowering people to live life without the constant fear of a life-threatening allergic reaction. For more information, visit www.IgGenix.com
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