Biotech startup AskGene completes of $20m Series A financing to accelerate growth

Biotech startup AskGene completes of $20m Series A financing to accelerate growth

Published: 10-05-2022 10:45:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 338 | Tags:

AskGene, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on discovery and development of innovative biological drugs, announced the completion of $20 million in Series A financing. The financing was led by Qiming Venture Partners and TF Capital. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance clinical development of AskGene's robust pipeline of innovative therapeutic candidates and development of SmartKine cytokine prodrug platform.

Cytokines are well validated co-stimulators and hold great promise in immunotherapy, however, they have short half-lives, severe systemic toxicity and narrow therapeutic windows. SmartKine is a transformational cytokine technology platform developed by AskGene with global intellectual property rights. The technology overcomes the limitations of current cytokine therapeutics, brings next-generation cytokine therapies to patients with unmet medical needs. SmartKine molecules are designed to selectively activate a subset of immune cells preferentially at a disease site to enhance the function selectivity, developability and therapeutic indexes of cytokines. 

Jeff Lu, CEO, AskGene: "We are very pleased to have support from first-class investors who share our vision to modulate immune system at disease sites with precision. This is an exciting time for our company. We are advancing several potentially first-in-class or best-in-class molecules from our SmartKine platform to preclinical development and clinical development later this year. In addition, our clinical programs ASKB589 and ASKG712 are progressing smoothly.  We look forward to promising results from multiple clinical programs later this year and next year."

Allan Liu, Director, TF Capital: "Application of immunostimulatory cytokines has become a promising approach in cancer immunotherapy, however unfavorable PK and safety profile limit their further clinical development and application. AskGene's proprietary SmartKine platform can overcome limitations of first-generation recombinant cytokines by achieving conditional activation of cytokines in the tumor microenvironment to unleash the full therapeutic potential. We are thrilled to partner with AskGene's exceptional leadership team as they advance SmartKine molecules into the clinic with the ultimate goal of providing better outcomes to cancer patients."