TORL BioTherapeutics LLC, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new biologics for cancer treatment, has announced its public launch and the closing of a $158 million Series B financing.
TORL’s pipeline of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were discovered in the laboratory of scientific co-founder Dennis Slamon, professor of medicine, and chief of the division of hematology/oncology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM).
His research was pivotal in identifying HER2 as a target in breast cancer and the development and initial approval of trastuzumab (Herceptin). Slamon’s lab went on to discover CDK4/6 as an important target in hormone receptor (HR+) positive breast cancer.
Subsequently, his group led the clinical development of CDK4/6 inhibitors, resulting in breakthrough status therapies palbociclib (Ibrance) and ribociclib (Kisqali), in HR+ breast cancer.
TORL is built on a strategic partnership with the Slamon Research Lab at UCLA, whereby the company has exclusive development and commercial rights to biologics-based drug candidates focused on promising cancer targets. TORL’s lead drug programs target claudin 6 (CLDN 6) and claudin 18.2 (CLDN 18.2), both of which are currently in clinical trials. The company also expects to put 2-3 additional compounds into clinical trials over the next 12 months, with plans to advance one or two new compounds each year.
“It has been very rewarding to use 30 years of experience, lessons learned, and preclinical models developed in our lab for this new company,” Slamon, co-founder of TORL, said.
“This unique academic/corporate partnership allows us to quickly identify novel targets, validate them preclinically, then proceed to bring these new biologic treatments into clinical testing and development in an exceptionally rapid and efficient manner. Our goal is to develop compounds that address critical or as yet unmet medical needs while simultaneously providing new and effective treatment options for cancer patients that can be life and practice changing. There are more of these to come, and we are thrilled we have this partnership to expand cancer therapy.”
TORL moving drug programs forward
Leveraging the Slamon research lab’s discovery engine and validation platforms, TORL was founded to promote its novel oncology biologics with speed and capital efficiency. Since its inception in 2018, TORL has moved forward three, internally-developed drug programs into the clinic and advanced two more through IND-enabling studies with less than $50 million.
“It has been tremendously gratifying to pioneer TORL’s innovative approach to drug discovery and development, culminating in the launch of multiple clinical trials with our drugs over the past year,” said David Licata, TORL’s CEO.
“We created and demonstrated an original, capital efficient structure which, despite the challenging market conditions, attracted a distinguished group of biotech investors with a shared vision for rapid cancer drug development. With the close of this Series B financing, we can advance our new programs into the clinic and existing clinical-stage programs into the next phase.”
“Despite meaningful advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, most patients worldwide continue to face serious morbidity and significant mortality,” said Mark Alles, TORL’s executive chairman.
“With strong support from our highly accomplished investors, we are building a preeminent biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of first and best-in-class antibody-based immunotherapies to improve and extend the lives of people living with this terrible disease.”