LA JOLLA – Local biotech firm Tr1X, Inc. secured a $75 million Series A financing to develop therapies to treat and possibly cure autoimmune and inflammatory diseases using specialized types of T-cells – the white blood cells that fight infections. Financing was led by The Column Group, with participation from NEVA SGR and Alexandria Ventures.
“Our VC investors are confident in our world-class team’s ability to revolutionize the field through our innovative, breakthrough science,” David de Vries, MPhil, Tr1X Co-Founder and COO told the Business Journal. “In just 18 months, the Tr1X team has already demonstrated a solid track record of execution.” He added that the new financing round will help fund the company through most of 2025.
Tr1X is part of a burgeoning clan of startups focusing on the use of regulatory T cells to target various autoimmune diseases. Other notable players include Northern California’s Sonoma Biotherapeutics and Quell Therapeutics, based in London.
With its headquarters in Torrey Pines, Tr1X’s tech is based on Scientific Founder, President & Head of R&D Maria Grazia Roncarolo’s discovery of Type 1 regulatory T (Tr1) cells, which have features that can benefit patients with autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases. The company has developed a method of engineering donated CD4-positive T cells (cells that play a critical role in the adaptive immune system) into ones that mimic naturally occurring Tr1 cells, including protein expression and function.
“The ability to develop a pipeline of medicines based on our work on regulatory T cells represents the culmination of decades of discovery and research into the underpinnings of immunological tolerance and autoimmunity,” she shared. “Tr1 cells have unique properties and represent the ideal therapeutic platform to develop ‘immune reset’ therapies.”
Trial Coming Soon
Tr1X is working on its first investigational Tr1 cell therapy — TRX103 — which could treat what’s known as Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) in patients undergoing mismatched bone marrow transplants. Additional therapies in its development pipeline could treat inflammatory bowel disease, Type 1 diabetes and multiple so-called B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases.
At the helm of the team is CEO Bill Lis, who comes with more than 25 years of biotech executive leadership experience. Lis most recently served as Chairman and interim CEO of Jasper Therapeutics where he led the company’s Series A and follow-on financings and successful brequilimab Phase 1 study readouts in bone marrow stem cell transplantation. Before that, he served as CEO and a Director of Portola Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Alexion Pharmaceuticals) where he built the company from a private research-stage startup into a multi-billion-dollar public company that launched Andexxa and Bevyxxa.
Tr1X is now planning to initiate clinical trials of its TRX103 therapeutic.
“We are preparing to move our TRX103 program into Phase 1 and look forward to updating you on our progress as the study kicks off later this year,” added de Vries. “We hope to be a leader in the field of cell therapies for autoimmune diseases.”
CEO: Bill Lis
HEADQUARTERS: 4242 Campus Point Ct. Suite 500
FUNDING: $75 million (Series A)
NOTABLE: Tr1X’s world-class team has been involved in the development and launch of more than a dozen approved medicines for diseases including RSV, HPV, Metachromatic leukodystrophy, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, DVT and atopic dermatitis.