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Tentarix Raises $35M Series B

BIOTECH: Fund Round Follows Gilead Collab Deal

Tentarix Biotherapeutics and its trademarked Tentacles platform has been gaining some traction.

The company announced earlier this month a $35 million Series B financing round led by Amplitude Ventures with participation from Gilead Sciences, Inc., and founding investors Versant Ventures and Samsara BioCapital.

Paul Grayson
President & CEO
Tentarix Biotherapeutics

The financing came just weeks after Tentarix inked a collaboration deal with Gilead to develop three multi-functional, conditional protein therapeutics for oncology and inflammatory diseases using the Tentacles platform.

Across the three collaborations, Tentarix will receive upfront payments and an equity investment from Gilead totaling $66 million. Gilead also has the option to acquire up to three select Tentarix subsidiaries containing the programs developed under the collaborations for $80 million per subsidiary.

From venture equity and upfront partnership payments, Tetarix has now raised a total of $132 million.

“With the support of this group of industry-leading investors, we are well-capitalized to continue advancing our promising Tentacles platform,” said Tentarix President and CEO Paul Grayson. “This financing, combined with our recently announced collaboration with Gilead, extends our cash runway and enables us to expand our pipeline of cell-specific, conditionally active multifunctional biologics that have the potential to tackle previously undruggable targets.”

Grayson described the collaboration with Foster City, California-based Gilead as part of Tentarix’s strategy to “join forces with innovators … who can help us rapidly advance new medicines to the clinic.”

Like an Octopus

Tentarix and its Tentacles platform are a nod to the company’s multifunctional biologics approach to precision therapeutics.

Multifunctional biologics require interactions with numerous targets on the cell surface, which Grayson has described as “similar to the way an octopus uses tentacles to hold a surface or its prey.”

The Tentacles platform looks to address currently undruggable diseases that have validated cell surface targets but are found on tissues other than those of treatment interest by enabling targeted, conditional activation of its biotherapies only when  all  desired receptors are present.

Allyson Tighe
Co-founder
Amplitude Ventures

Amplitude Ventures Co-founder Allyson Tighe, who joined Tentarix’s board in connection with the Series B financing, said “multifunctional biologics enable more powerful therapeutic approaches.”

“We are convinced that Tentarix’s unique technology platform leads the industry,” she added.

The precision of the platform’s biotherapies is in the way that they selectively interact with the targeted cell and they’re unique from other targeted therapies in the way that they interact with specific cell surface proteomes to build specificity and efficacy.

Tentarix’s molecules have the potential to conditionally target immune cells related to disease pathways without activating other immune cells that may create adverse events such as dysregulated immune disorders, which  occur when the body can’t control or restrain an immune response and the body either: underreacts to foreign invaders, causing infections to spread quickly; or overreacts to foreign invaders, causing the immune cells to attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs.

Flavius Martin, M.D.
EVP, Research
Gilead Sciences

“At Gilead, a key area of our research strategy is addressing immune dysregulation in oncology and inflammatory diseases,” said Flavius Martin, M.D., executive vice president of research at Gilead Sciences. “This early-stage collaboration with Tentarix will be highly synergistic to our ongoing efforts, building upon our growing strength in protein therapeutics, and may provide access to next-generation, multi-specific biologics.”

The Tentacles platform is modular and can be used to create biologics that treat a range of diseases. The classes of molecules or pathways currently in the company’s pipeline include T cell co-agonists, regulatory T cell reprogramming, cell-specific internalizers, and T cell activators.

Tentarix Biotherapeutics

FOUNDED: 2020
CEO: Paul Grayson
HEADQUARTERS: Torrey Pines
BUSINESS: Tentarix’s mission is to develop first-in-class targeted, multifunctional, conditional therapies.
FUNDING RAISED: $132 million
EMPLOYEES: 30+ employees
WEBSITE:  tentarix.com
NOTABLE: Tentarix molecules are based on fully human antibody components, which when combined, recapitulate powerful biology. Their manufacturing is based on decades of robust, industrialized process development.

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