Newcastle, UK-headquartered Iksuda Therapeutics has announced the closing of a $47m (£34m) financing round, with the funds to be used to support the advancement of its lead antibody drug conjugate (ADC) assets.

This includes the company’s lead pre-clinical ADC candidate IKS03, a potentially ‘best-in-class’ CD19-targeted asset for B-cell cancers.

Iksuda will use the funds to support the progression of IKS03 into first-in-human Phase I clinical trials, and will also be used to fast-track its earlier-stage programmes.

Currently, the company’s drug development pipeline is focused on the improved safety and efficacy conferred by tumour activated, prodrug payloads in combination with stable conjugation technologies

Iksuda’s pipeline leverages its proprietary protein alkylating (ProAlk) tumour-activated payload platform, which it recently licensed from the University of Göttingen in Germany.

“This is a transformational investment milestone for Iksuda, enabling us to focus on the progression of our industry-leading ADC programmes and bring them to the clinic, while supporting our commercial growth,” said Dave Simpson, chief executive officer of Iksuda.

“The funding not only reflects the potential of our technologies, but also the unmatched expertise of the Iksuda team. We are grateful for the support of this group of investors and delighted to welcome them to the team,” he added.

The financing round was co-led by Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries – Celltrion and Premier Partners.

“We have been highly impressed with Iksuda’s approach and progress to date, and with the Company’s leadership. We are delighted to lead this investment round, and to contribute to enabling the team to progress its very promising pipeline of ADC candidates,” commented Ji Kwang Chung, investor, Mirae Asset Capital.