Biotech spinoff using rabbit antibody platform to develop new cancer drugs raises $15M

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A spinoff of Epitomics (now owned by Abcam) that’s using the biotech’s rabbit monoclonal antibody technology to discover and develop new cancer drugs has raised at least $15 million.

According to a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Apexigen could continue raising up to $20 million in an equity round that’s already seen participation from 30 investors. The company’s VP of business development couldn’t be reached for more information.

The Burlingame, California, startup was spun out of Epitomics in 2010 with the rights to use the company’s monoclonal antibody and humanization technologies to develop biopharmaceuticals for diseases that are difficult to treat.


Many companies develop monoclonal antibody drugs for cancer. Apexigen is doing it based on rabbit-derived, humanized monoclonal antibodies rather than mouse or human-derived antibodies. It says the rabbit immune system creates more diverse antibodies to a target because of a unique mechanism called gene conversion.

The startup’s most advanced internal candidate, APX005, targets the CD40 protein and is under preclinical development for the treatment of difficult to treat cancers such as pancreatic cancer. Apexigen also has at least four other drug candidates being developed through licensing deals, mostly in China.

Other ongoing collaborations include a deal with Boehringer Ingelheim under which the Big Pharma will develop cell lines for APX005.

[Photo from Flickr user Daniel Hall]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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