South Korean biotech, Orum Therapeutics, announced the completion of an $8 million Series A financing with InterVest, KB Investment (KBIC)/Solidus Investment, and LB Investment.  Orum has developed a novel cell-penetrating antibody technology to target undruggable cytosolic targets, without chemical conjugation and with target cell specificity. The financing will support Orum’s first program in oncology targeting activated RAS protein, a highly-validated cancer drug target involved in aggressive cancers.

RAS proteins function to transmit signals within cells that control cell growth, differentiation and survival. Mutations found in human cancers result in RAS being constitutively activated. Although the pivotal role of RAS mutants in cancer initiation and progression was discovered nearly 35 years ago, previous efforts to develop agents directly targeting activated RAS have been plagued with the undruggable properties of RAS mutants.

Scientists from Ajou University and Orum Therapeutics recently published a paper in Nature Communications describing the preclinical characterization of a cytosol-penetrating and then Ras targeting antibody designed with Orum’s technology. The data showed that systemic administration of the antibody could selectively inhibit activated RAS to achieve anti-tumor activity for human colorectal and fibrosarcoma xenograft tumors in mice.

Orum’s recent news was covered in a number of industry trade outlets, including:

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