San Diego biotech raises $90 million to treat infections in people with weak immune systems

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San Diego biotech company Amplyx Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that it has completed a $53 million extension to its Series C funding round, bringing the total for the round to $90 million. - Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

SAN DIEGO — San Diego biotech company Amplyx Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that it has completed a $53 million extension to its Series C funding round, bringing the total for the round to $90 million.

Sofinnova Venture Partners led the round, with participation from more than seven investment firms that had contributed in earlier rounds. Pfizer and Adage Capital Management joined the mix as new investors.

The funds will mainly go toward testing two experimental drugs central to Amplyx’s mission — treating microbes that are usually harmless, but which can kill a person without a healthy immune system.

One of the drugs, fosmanogepix, is already in phase 2 clinical trials for its usefulness in treating fungal infections. The other experimental drug, MAU868, uses a Y-shaped immune protein known as an antibody to block the BK virus — a common virus that lays dormant inside most people, but which can re-activate in patients taking immunosuppressants for an organ transplant.

“We all breathe in (fungal) spores and breathe them out every day, and it doesn’t bother us,” said Ciara Kennedy, Amplyx’s CEO. “And we all have BK virus in our kidneys for the most part.”

Amplyx reported in September that the first 10 patients in its phase 2 trial of fosmanogepix were improving while on the drug. Kennedy says the company will release data for all 21 trial patients by early July.

Only about 6% of venture capital deals with disclosed sums crossed the $50 million threshold during the second quarter of 2019, according to the Venture Monitor report. Kennedy says the new funds should bankroll Amplyx’s operations until at least the latter half of 2021. The company is also inching closer toward an initial public offering, which she says could happen as soon as early 2021.

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