Oxitope Pharma and Arxx Therapeutics, companies focused on leveraging the innate immune system to develop disease-modulating therapies, announced their merger to form Calluna Pharma Inc, which launches with €75 million in Series A funding.

Calluna is backed by Oxitope and Arxx’s existing lead investors, Forbion, Sarsia, p53, and Investinor. The new company will combine expertise in the field of innate immunity, based on damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMP), with a pipeline of selective antibodies that target inflammatory and fibrotic indications, including several first-in-class clinical candidates.

Calluna is developing novel therapies that harness the potential of the body’s immune system. The company’s approach involves precision targeting of upstream innate immune amplifiers, enabling disruption of a range of disease-associated downstream signaling pathways while maintaining a favorable safety profile. 

As a result, Calluna has developed a pipeline of selective antibodies, targeting immunological diseases. These include novel therapeutic candidates that fulfill unmet clinical needs across a spectrum of diseases, driven by acute or chronic inflammation and non-resolving tissue fibrosis.

Calluna has four promising therapies in its pipeline. Its clinical stage lead program, CAL101, is a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the bioactivity of S100A4, a DAMP protein implicated in serious and life-threatening diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe (steroid insensitive) asthma

Another of its programs, CAL102, a monoclonal antibody neutralizing oxidized phospholipids, which play a significant role in the onset and progression of a range of acute and chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. CAL102 demonstrated efficacy in several preclinical disease models.

“In joining forces, these two key players in the innate immunology space have created an exciting new clinical company that has four promising therapies in its pipeline with excellent preclinical proof-of-concept data,” says John Montana, PhD, CEO of Calluna Pharma, in a release. “By innovating beyond traditional treatment strategies, Calluna offers clinical candidates with superior efficacy, improved patient tolerance, and minimal adverse side effects which have real potential to redefine patient outcomes.”

The company is raising further financing to develop its pipeline to multiple key clinical milestones over the next two-and-a-half years, according to the company.

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