Bright Peak uses a novel technology to chemically synthesize therapeutic cytokines by ligating together customized peptide segments. This proprietary technology provides unique flexibility to both tune and enhance cytokine biology through affinity modification and orthogonal, site-specific conjugation. The company’s platform also allows for the conjugation of its enhanced cytokines as payloads to certain antibodies, creating novel and proprietary “Bright Peak Immunocytokines.” These Immunocytokines will allow tissue- and cell-specific targeting of the cytokine payload with the added potential for synergistic efficacy through potency-enhancing avidity effects.
“This capital will allow us to expand our Immunocytokine platform and advance our deep pipeline of programs across IL-2, IL-18 and IL-7”, said Fredrik Wiklund, president and CEO of Bright Peak.
The round was led by RA Capital, with participation by founding investor Versant Ventures and new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Qatar Investment Authority, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Alexandria Venture Investments and an undisclosed leading healthcare investment fund.
The company has its beginnings at ETH Zurich and was initially seeded and launched by Versant Ventures at the firm’s Ridgeline Discovery laboratories in Basel. Today Bright Peak is co-located in Switzerland and San Diego, California. More information on the scientific background can be found in a long article on the ETH Zurich website.
New board members
In addition, Bright Peak announced key additions to its board of directors with the appointments of independent directors Laura Shawver, Ph.D., and Christine Siu. Dr. Shawver, currently CEO of Silverback Therapeutics, is an industry veteran with an extensive scientific, translational and clinical background as well as a broad range of strategic expertise. Most recently, she was president and CEO of Synthorx, a developer of engineered cytokines for cancer and autoimmune disorders that was acquired by Sanofi in 2020 for $2.5 billion.
Ms. Siu is the chief operating officer in-residence at BridgeBio Pharma Inc., and former CFO at Eidos Therapeutics Inc., a BridgeBio subsidiary, where she transformed Eidos from a preclinical biotech start-up company to a late-stage clinical public company.
On the Bright Peak board, Dr. Shawver and Ms. Siu join RA Capital’s Josh Resnick, M.D., and Michael Rosenzweig DVM, Ph.D., who joined in connection with the Series B financing, as well as existing board members Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., and Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., of Versant Ventures.
(Press release / SK)