Exeliom Biosciences has completed a €24 million ($26 million) Series A to progress the clinical development of its therapeutic pipeline. This includes several clinical trials of EXL01, a novel immunotherapy with applications in cancer and in infectious diseases.
This follows on from the initial closing of €7 million ($7.6 million) in 2018, a first extension of €3 million ($3.3 million) in 2021 and the €6 million ($6.6 million) non-dilutive funding secured over the period. New international VC investor, CE-Ventures, the corporate venture capital platform of Crescent Enterprises, led the €8 million ($8.7 million) Series A extension, joined by existing investors including VCs Auriga Partners and UI Investissement, and Biocodex, an independent multinational pharmaceutical company.
The proceeds will be used primarily to progress the clinical development of Exeliom Biosciences’ lead candidate, EXL01, into two new therapeutic areas: immuno-oncology and infectious diseases. EXL01 is a once daily, potentially first-in-class, microbiome-based immunotherapy containing a single-strain of the major dominant commensal bacterium Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.
This species of the human intestinal microbiota has demonstrated promising immunomodulatory properties that can enhance immune system activation in the context of existing standard treatments. Through this activation, F. prausnitzii improves patients’ ability to respond to these treatments. EXL01, an innovative, off-the-shelf, candidate, is already being evaluated in the clinic in the field of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, as part of a phase 1 trial in Crohn’s disease patients initiated at the end of 2022.
New clinical trials for Exeliom Biosciences
In the first half of 2024, Exeliom Biosciences plans to initiate three phase 1/2 clinical trials evaluating the combination of EXL01 with standard-of-care treatments (including immune checkpoint inhibitors) in three different cancers: gastric cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Exeliom Biosciences also plans to launch, in parallel, a phase 1/2 study evaluating EXL01 as an alternative to the current standard treatment (fecal transplantation) for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
Benjamin Hadida, chief executive officer of Exeliom Biosiences, said: “We are very pleased to receive the funding and strong support from our current financial partners and a new investor, CE-Ventures, who recognized our ability to open a new chapter in microbiome-based immunotherapy.
“Already evaluated for Crohn’s disease, our lead candidate, EXL01, based on a unique strain of F. prausnitzii, demonstrated synergistic effects with immune checkpoint inhibitors, thanks to its immuno-modulatory properties, paving the way for promising therapeutic effects in immuno-oncology. We also believe that EXL01 could be the next-generation product for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection to replace the donor-derived fecal matter transplant products. We now have the resources to build an ambitious pipeline-in-a-drug strategy and we look forward to starting our first additional clinical trials in early 2024.”