The new company will develop novel therapies to benefit the body’s immune system

Oxitope Pharma and Arxx Therapeutics have announced their merger to form Calluna Pharma, which has raised €75m in a series A financing, to develop novel therapies for immunological diseases.

The new company will combine Oxitope’s and Arxx’s expertise to develop novel therapies that harness the transformative potential of the body’s immune system.

Immunologic diseases arise when the immune system in the body does not function properly. In some cases, these disorders can destroy the presence or function of immune cells.

Calluna’s approach will involve precision targeting of upstream innate immune amplifiers, enabling disruption of a range of disease-associated downstream signalling pathways while also maintaining a favourable safety profile.

As a result of this, the company has developed a robust pipeline of selective antibodies that target immunological diseases, including inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.

These candidates will meet unmet clinical needs across multiple diseases, driven by acute or chronic inflammation and non-resolving tissue fibrosis.

The four therapies currently in its pipeline include a clinical stage lead programme, CAL101, a monoclonal antibody that neutralises the bioactivity of S100A4, a damage-associated molecular pattern protein that is linked to diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, systematic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and severe asthma.

Another of its programmes, CAL102, is a monoclonal antibody that neutralises oxidised phospholipids, which play a key role in the onset and progression of a wide range of acute and chronic inflammatory, and fibrotic diseases.

The programme recently demonstrated efficacy in multiple pre-clinical models.

John Montana, chief executive officer, Calluna, said: “These two key players in the innate immunology space have created an exciting new clinical company.

“Calluna offers clinical candidates with superior efficacy, improved patient tolerance, and minimal adverse side effects which have real potential to redefine patient outcomes.”

Calluna’s financing has been backed by Oxitope and Arxx’s lead investors, Forbion, Sarsia, p53 and Investinor and it is raising further financing to develop its pipeline to multiple key clinical milestones across the next two to three years.