Anokion SA, a Swiss biotechnology company focused on treating autoimmune disease by restoring normal immune tolerance, today announced the acquisition of Kanyos Bio, Inc. and the completion of a $40 million Series B financing. These transformative transactions position the company for the next stage of growth as multiple programs advance toward clinical development.
The Kanyos acquisition adds KAN-101 to the portfolio, an antigen-specific treatment for celiac disease currently in late preclinical development, with an investigational new drug (IND) application expected to be filed with the FDA by the end of 2019. Originally founded in collaboration with Anokion in 2015, Kanyos leveraged the Anokion platform to rapidly progress KAN-101 into IND-enabling studies. Together with Anokion’s lead product ANK-780, an antigen-specific treatment for multiple sclerosis, the Company anticipates having two programs in clinical development within the next 12 months.
To continue advancing its pipeline, Anokion completed a $40 million Series B financing with Versant Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund, Novo Ventures and select Swiss-based private investors. Celgene, which has an existing collaboration with Anokion to develop novel, immune-modulating programs for autoimmune diseases, also participated in the Series B. Anokion has now secured more than $160 million in equity and partner capital.
“Since our founding, Anokion has developed and consolidated significant insights and applications for treating both prevalent and rare autoimmune diseases, with an initial focus on people affected by celiac disease and multiple sclerosis,” said John A. Hohneker, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Anokion. “Using our immune-based platform, we have elucidated new ways to target and modulate natural pathways in the liver to restore normal immune tolerance, and we are translating this knowledge into disease-modifying treatments designed to deliver a long-lasting impact.”
Laura Brass, Ph.D., a managing director at Novartis Venture Fund, also joined Anokion’s board of directors. In addition, Anokion further strengthened its management team with the appointment of Raj Manchanda, Ph.D., as chief technical operations officer and the promotion of Deborah Geraghty, Ph.D., to chief operating officer.
Dr. Manchanda brings more than 23 years of pharmaceutical development and program management experience to Anokion, most recently having served as innovation portfolio leader at the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. Prior to that, he was chief development officer at Frequency Therapeutics, and before that, served as vice president, neurodegeneration and early stage therapeutics asset development at Biogen, where he led the CMC development for the approval and commercialization of Tecfidera. Dr. Manchanda received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University and was an Anna Fuller postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Geraghty joined Anokion in 2018 as chief business officer and brings more than 20 years of experience in the life sciences industry, serving in senior strategic, commercial and portfolio positions. She previously was senior vice president, corporate strategy at Dimension Therapeutics. She earned a B.S. in Biology at Union College, an MBA from the Carroll School at Boston College and a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Vermont.
“The progress of our ground-breaking science, substantial support from existing investorsand a strong team affirms the success we have achieved to date and reflects the continued interest in immune tolerance and its potential to address compelling unmet needs for people affected by autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. Hohneker.