BRISBANE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Australian immunology company Kira Biotech today announced it has secured Series A funding of A$20 million to develop therapeutics targeting difficult-to-treat immune system disorders.
The funds will help advance Kira Biotech’s lead candidate KB312 through phase 1 human studies. The Series A funding was led by OneVentures, IP Group and the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund.
Kira Biotech’s research program focuses on immune tolerance and targets cells and pathways that are key activators of the immune response in patients with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and type 1 diabetes.
KB312 is an antibody with a novel target that is common to many immune system disorders and is key to restoration or induction of immune tolerance.
“Unlike existing treatments which broadly target immune cells, Kira’s antibody targets a specific activated cell which directs the immune response,” said Dr Dan Baker, founding CEO of Kira Biotech.
“In doing so, KB312 limits the negative impacts of broad immunosuppression and preserves beneficial immune cells that protect patients against infections and malignancies.”
Kira Biotech will also explore opportunities for its lead candidate to address transplant complications seen in graft-versus-host disease and rejection associated with heart and kidney transplants.
The Company’s research program is based on decades of research led by the late Professor Derek Hart and Associate Professor Georgina Clark.
Associate Professor Clark said the launch of Kira Biotech highlights the enormous effort by many dedicated scientists to translate research from the bench to bedside.
“KB312 is an example of an Australian technology that has potential for global health impact with its differentiated treatment approach,” said Associate Professor Clark.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, more than 50 million Americans are affected by an autoimmune disease.1 The National Institutes of Health estimates the direct annual costs for these diseases to be in the range of $100 billion.2
About Kira Biotech
Kira Biotech is an emerging Australian biotechnology company developing novel immunomodulatory compounds for the treatment of immune system disorders. Kira Biotech has attracted venture capital funding and is progressing KB312 through preclinical development and phase 1 clinical trials with a team of drug development experts led by US-based rheumatologist and immunologist, Dr Dan Baker.
KB312 is a first-in-class, selective, immune-cell depleting monoclonal antibody which targets activated immune cells and aims to restore homeostasis through induction of immune tolerance.