The global blood and bone marrow cancer treatment market was valued at $38.8B (approx €32.8B) in 2018 and is reportedly expected to reach $74.9B (approx €63.4B) by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2019 to 2027.

Blood cancer begins in the bone marrow which is the integral source of stem cells, which are later differentiated into different types of blood cells in the human body. Researchers have stated that approximately 1.85 million new cases of blood cancer will be diagnosed by 2040 throughout the globe.

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Europe holds a market share of 30.8% owing to the supportive regulatory framework provided by the European Medical Agency for the development and sale of medication for the treatment of blood cancer.

Raises €30M

In the recent development, blood and bone marrow cancer treatment developer Priothera Limited, has raised €30M in its Series A round of funding led by Fountain Healthcare Partners with participation from co-lead investor HealthCap and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, LLC, as well as EarlyBird Venture Capital. 

According to the medtech startup, the raised funds will be used to progress the clinical development of mocravimod – a modulator of sphingosine 1 phosphate (S1P) receptors, to enhance the curative potential of allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for treating AML. 

This Dublin-based startup raises €30M to develop promising therapies for leukemia

Priothera expects to generate further randomised clinical data in high-risk AML patients with these funds.

Fighting AML

Dublin-based Priothera was founded in 2020 by Drs. Florent Gros and Dhaval Patel. Joining the founding team include experienced industry executive, Dr. Christoph Bucher, Dr. Simone Seiter, and CFO Brice Suire.

The company claims to be leading the way in developing orally applied sphingosine 1 phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators for haematological malignancies. S1P receptor modulators have been suggested to largely reduce egress of T cell subsets from lymphatic tissues allowing for dual inhibition of graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) and enhancing graft-versus-leukemia benefits in patients receiving allogenic stem cell transplant.

“Allogenic stem cell transplant is the only potentially curative approach for AML patients but has unacceptably high mortality with current treatments,” says Florent Gros, co-founder, and CEO of Priothera.

Florent Gros further adds, “We are excited about mocravimod which has a unique mechanism of action and clinical proof of concept demonstrating its ability to improve survival outcomes for this devastating disease.”

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive and highly proliferative form of cancer where the bone marrow generates abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell). According to the company, AML is the most common form of leukemia in adults and can metastasise quickly if left untreated. This can typically lead to death within a few months of diagnosis.

Mocravimod

Priothera has acquired rights to a drug called mocravimod from Japan’s Kyorin Pharmaceutical for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia.

According to the company, Mocravimod has already been extensively tested in multiple immunologic indications and has shown a survival benefit in an early clinical study evaluating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

Priothera is developing mocravimod in AML with the aim of enhancing the curative potential of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). The company claims that promising early clinical results have revealed that mocravimod has the potential to rebalance the patient’s immune system by decoupling Graft-versus-Host Disease (GvHD)  from Graft-versus-  (GvL), preventing the first and preserving the latter.

Following the closing of the financing, people who have joined the Board of Directors include Florent Gros (Priothera’s co-founder and CEO), Dr. Dhaval Patel (Priothera’s co-founder and CSO at UCB), Dr. Manus Rogan (Fountain Healthcare Partners co-founder and MD), Dr. Marten Steen (partner at HealthCap), Dr. Henry Skinner (senior vice president at Tekla Capital Management, LLC) and Lionel Carnot (partner at EarlyBird Venture Capital).

Image credits: Jarun Ontakrai/ShutterStock

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