Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals acquires cancer therapeutic start-up from U of Washington


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

Vancouver-based Aquinox Pharmaceuticals is set to acquire Neoleukin Therapeutics, a start-up from the University of Washington (UW) that has developed a synthetic protein to fight cancer.

Aquinox will provide Neoleukin with 14.78 million of its own shares, valuing the start-up at more than $40 million. As part of the deal, Aquinox will take on Neoleukin’s name and will be headquartered in Seattle.

Neoleukin began with the goal of commercializing a synthetic version of a powerful protein known as Interleukin-2 (IL-2), which has strong cancer-fighting properties but is extremely toxic to patients. The UW researchers behind the start-up discovered a way to modify IL-2 so that it would stimulate T-cells to attack tumors safely.

“The scientific founders have truly created an innovative approach that can serve as a platform for many products and advanced therapeutic options for countless patients,” says Aquinox CEO Davide Main.

“The merger with Aquinox is transformational for our company, providing additional capital to prepare an IND submission, generate clinical data, develop additional preclinical programs, and advance our computational technology,” says Jonathan Drachman, CEO of Neoleukin.

Source: GeekWire

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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