Aura Biosciences, a biotechnology company developing a new class of therapies to target and selectively destroy cancer cells using viral nanoparticle conjugates, announced today that it secured an additional $8 million round of funding. The company also announced the addition of Henri Termeer, former CEO of Genzyme and major Aura investor, to its Board of Directors, and welcomed key new Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) members, all distinguished ocular oncologists.
The round of financing consisted of expanded funding commitments from its existing investors: Advent Partners, Chiesi Ventures, Ysios Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments and several individual investors, including Termeer. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance to the clinic Aura’s lead program in ocular melanoma (OM), AU-011, which is the first targeted therapy ever to be developed for the primary treatment of this rare and life-threatening disease. AU-011 has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is expected to enter clinical testing early next year.
“Since the closing of our Series B financing over a year ago, we’ve made significant strides toward our ultimate goal of creating a safe and effective therapy that selectively eliminates cancer cells early in the OM disease course, while preserving vision for these patients,” said Elisabet de los Pinos, founder and CEO of Aura Biosciences. “With the continued support of our investors, experienced clinical advisors and Board of Directors, we are moving AU-011 rapidly toward the clinic, while additionally advancing our preclinical programs in other indications where Aura’s approach of selective tumor targeting could revolutionize treatment for patients with rare cancers who have no other treatment options.”
To help guide the company’s clinical program, Aura has also expanded its CAB with two new members who are recognized world leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with OM and other ocular cancers:
- Jay S. Duker, M.D., Director of the New England Eye Center and Professor and Chairman of the department of ophthalmology at Tufts Medical Center and the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston
- Brian Marr, M.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill-Cornell Medical School, and Associate Attending and key member of the ophthalmic oncology service, department of surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Founding members of Aura’s CAB, which was formed last year, are world-renowned ocular oncology specialists Carol Shields, M.D., Evangelos Gragoudas, M.D., and Arun Singh, M.D. José Baselga, M.D., Ph.D., Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is the Chairman of Aura’s CAB. Additional members include Miguel Burnier, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Richard Carvajal, M.D., and Richard Peters, M.D., Ph.D.
About Aura Biosciences
Aura Biosciences is developing a new class of therapies to target and selectively destroy tumor cells. Its lead program in ocular melanoma, developed under a CRADA with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has
been granted orphan drug status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.aurabiosciences.com.