Bicara Therapeutics announced today that it has launched with a $40 million investment from Biocon Limited.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Bicara’s financing is earmarked for the advancement of its pipeline of first-in-class bifunctional antibodies developed between an engineering team in Bangalore, India, and the Cambridge-based executive team, according to a news release.
Bicara’s pipeline includes tumor-targeted antibodies along with immunomodulators to create dual-action therapies for activating strong immune responses inside the tumor microenvironment while minimizing the impact on healthy cells, aiding patients who are refractory to checkpoint inhibitors and first-line targeted therapies.
The platform is also designed to achieve efficacy as both a single agent and in combination with approved drugs, Bicara said.
“Immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies have been important advances in cancer care — but unfortunately, far too many patients either fail to respond or stop responding as their tumors grow resistant. Our dual-action biologics have the potential to bring new hope to these patients,” Bicara CEO Claire Mazumdar said in the release. “We have brought together a team with deep experience in engineering complex biologics and a successful track record of developing FDA-approved drugs, and we’re thrilled to be advancing through the clinic so quickly as we move with urgency to address the significant need for more effective cancer treatments.”
BCA101, the company’s lead program, is a first-in-class EGFR/TGFβ-trap bifunctional antibody. It entered a Phase 1/2 study in the U.S. and Canada in July 2020 to be evaluated as a single agent and in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab in patients with advanced EGFR-driven solid tumors who no longer respond to the standard of care.
The company expects to transition to dose expansion studies for BCA101 in the second half of this year.
“The strong enrollment we have seen in the BCA101 trial underscores the depth of unmet need, especially in patients who are refractory to the standard of care, including chemotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors or targeted therapies,” added Bicara CMO Dr. Liviu Niculescu. “I’m excited to be a part of the Bicara team as we pursue the potential for a highly targeted bifunctional antibody that can jump-start a more effective immune response and deliver meaningful outcomes for our patients.”