NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TIO Bioventures, an emerging life science venture creation fund with a mission to build companies with innovative anti-cancer therapies, today announced the launch of Treadwell Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology company exploiting cancer cells’ vulnerabilities to develop first-in-class and best-in-class small molecules to address unmet needs in patients with cancer. Treadwell, one of TIO Bioventures family of companies launched from its discovery engine, TIO Discovery, was established with an initial $27 million in seed financing from TIO Bioventures to develop a robust pipeline of novel, first-in-class, small molecule drug candidates.
“At Treadwell, we are developing small molecules designed to leverage world-class, innovative science in cancer biology and immune-oncology with pan-cancer potential, including hematological malignancies from the TIO Discovery development engine,” said Dr. Michael Tusche, Treadwell Co-Chief Executive Officer and Partner at TIO Bioventures.
The origins of Treadwell lie in cutting-edge research incubated at the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research (CFIBCR) within the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s largest research hospital. Based on this research, Treadwell scientists have designed and advanced from discovery to Phase 2 clinical development, a first-in-class PLK4 kinase inhibitor, CFI-400945 and a potentially best-in-class TTK inhibitor, CFI-402257. These candidates have demonstrated encouraging safety and efficacy profiles in multiple investigator-sponsored clinical trials. In addition, Treadwell is poised to bring a third molecule into the clinic in early 2020. This agent, CFI-402411, an oral immunomodulatory kinase inhibitor with activity toward HPK1, an untapped immune-oncology target. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the promise of CFI-402411 as a potential monotherapy and in combination with existing checkpoint inhibitors across both solid and hematological cancers. Treadwell’s product candidates are wholly-owned and have been developed in TIO Discovery, a unique R&D engine wholly owned by TIO.
The Company announced the appointment of Rachel W. Humphrey, M.D., as Head of R&D at TIO Discovery as well as Chief Medical Officer and Board Member at Treadwell. Dr. Humphrey joins TIO Bioventures and Treadwell with over two decades of experience as a senior clinical leader in oncology drug development for both large pharmaceutical and emerging biotechnology companies. Her experience includes overall leadership of the clinical development of Yervoy® (ipilmumab), the first FDA approved checkpoint inhibitor, at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the development of Imfinzi® (durvalumab) at Astra Zeneca and the development of Nexavar® (sorafenib) at Bayer, as primary driver of the vision, science and direction during critical periods in the development for these transformational medicines.
“TIO Bioventures novel approach to found, launch, and support companies such as Treadwell speaks to this powerful and successful relationship of world-class scientists with deeply experienced management executives, and I am delighted to join Treadwell at such a pivotal time in the Company’s growth,” said Dr. Humphrey. “I look forward to working with the team to further drive the development of these candidates with encouraging anti-cancer activity and exciting novel targets.”
She will join Treadwell Therapeutics’ existing leadership team composed of world-class experts in immunology and oncology drug development, including Dr. Tak Mak, co-founder and managing partner of TIO Bioventures, who has led the development of multiple successful biotechnology companies.
- Shane Burgess, OD, MBA, Co-Chief Executive Officer
- Michael W. Tusche, PhD, MBA, Co-Chief Executive Officer
- Jeff Rona, Chief Financial Officer
- Mark R. Bray, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
- Tak Wah Mak, PhD, Co-Founder
About Treadwell Therapeutics
Treadwell Therapeutics is a clinical-stage oncology company exploiting cancer cells’ vulnerabilities to develop first-in-class and best-in-class small molecules to address unmet needs in patients with cancer.
The Company’s robust, internally developed pipeline includes a first-in-class PLK4 kinase inhibitor, CFI-400945 and a potentially best-in-class TTK inhibitor, CFI-402257 ready for Phase 2, and CFI-402411, an oral immunomodulatory kinase inhibitor with activity toward HPK1, which will enter the clinic in early 2020.
About TIO Bioventures
Tio Bioventures is a boutique venture creation firm focused on funding the advancement of biotechnology companies that are guided by its principles of employing rigorous, research-driven science to create first-in-class cancer medicines that improve survival and quality of life. Unlike a traditional venture fund, TIO Bioventures leverages its internal TIO Discovery and development engine to efficiently drive its portfolio companies through key catalysts with a ‘hands-on’ approach in partnership with its founding scientists. The TIO Discovery engine is a fully functioning organization, featuring drug discovery, R&D and early stage clinical development capabilities that provide deep support for TIO Bioventures companies as they move into further stages of development.
Currently the firm has multiple portfolio companies in development including clinical-stage oncology company, Treadwell Therapeutics, a biologics focused oncology company with lead candidates identified, and a differentiated T cell therapy company. TIO Bioventures take a majority shareholder position in each of its portfolio companies.
About TIO Discovery
Tio Discovery is a uniquely designed, lean but fully self-sufficient drug discovery and development organization which currently forms the foundation of TIO Bioventures portfolio companies. The team of seasoned entrepreneurs and proven leaders employed at TIO Discovery, all with commercial success in drug development, are uniquely engaged in the management and oversight of the TIO family of companies, with the goal to rapidly and efficiently advance breakthrough medicines.
Through highly efficient and flexible resourcing and out-sourcing strategies, TIO Discovery is designed to bring first in class therapies into the family of TIO-founded companies and to optimize their strategy and tactics of clinical development in the path to value. In collaboration with the laboratories of renowned innovators from around the globe, such as celebrated scientist and Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AGIO) co-founder Dr. Tak Mak, TIO Discovery has validated multiple novel targets, has developed next-generation biologic and T cell therapy platforms, and has advanced therapeutic candidates into clinical development. The discovery and development engine is multi-functional, featuring highly experienced experts in both drug discovery and early to late stage clinical development, with the capabilities to support the TIO Bioventures companies in a flexible, cost-efficient manner.