ZielBio, Inc., an early-stage biotechnology company that identifies novel high value disease targets and develops therapeutic interventions to improve patient outcomes, has closed a $25.1 million Series A financing round. The round is led by Morningside Venture Investments and Partners Innovation Fund (PIF). ZielBio’s lead candidate ZB131 is a proprietary humanized monoclonal antibody against cell surface plectin (CSP), a target that is highly expressed on the plasma membrane of multiple types of cancer cells, including ovarian, pancreatic, lung and colorectal. The funding will enable the company to conduct further research to prioritize potential cancer applications, validate additional targets and initiate a planned phase 1 clinical trial with ZB131. “We are excited to partner with Morningside and PIF whose resources and drug development experience will greatly accelerate ZB131 development,” noted Kimberly Kelly, PhD, President and Chief Science Officer at ZielBio.
“Since its first discovery by ZielBio founder Dr. Kimberly Kelly at Massachusetts General Hospital, we have been encouraged by the unique role that cell surface plectin plays in proliferation, migration and cell survival and its potential as a drug target for a range of difficult to treat cancers,” said PIF Partner Meredith Fisher, PhD. “Extensive pre-clinical laboratory and animal research has demonstrated that ZB131 has a high affinity to bind to CSP, inducing growth arrest and necrosis of targeted tumor cells.”
“Despite the incredible progress being made in immuno-oncology, current therapies have limits and there remains a profound need for new targets and options for many deadly cancers,” said Jason Dinges, JD, PhD, Investment Advisor at Morningside Technology Advisory. “ZB131 has shown potentially superior immune activation to current checkpoint inhibitors and greater direct tumor cell killing than EGFR inhibitors.”
In connection with the financing, Drs. Dinges and Fisher have joined Dr. Kelly on the ZielBio Board of Directors.
ZielBio is an early-stage biotechnology company that identifies novel disease targets and develops therapeutic interventions to improve patient outcomes. Its proprietary drug discovery platform Zielfind™ combines the power of functional, high throughput screening with large content data analytics to identify high value targets. ZielBio has a promising pipeline of therapies and targets, including lead compound ZB131, a proprietary humanized monoclonal antibody against cell surface plectin (CSP), a cancer target identified through Zielfind™.