May 19, 2020

New biotech player CytomX looking to raise $100M in IPO

maria collazo
2 min
New biotech player CytomX looking to raise $100M in IPO

The biotech company changing the landscape of antibody therapeutics has recently filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in an IPO.

CytomX Therapeutics, led by CEO Sean McCarthy, initially raised $70 million in a late stage round of funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. In total, the company has raised $142 million in equity funding since it was founded in 2008.

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According to the filing, Third Rock Ventures, Canaan Partners, Fidelity, CytomX Therapeutics Holdings, Roche Finance and Pfizer are the company’s biggest shareholders.

Promising classes of antibodies, including immunotherapies and antibody drug conjugates, have shown meaningful improvements in efficacy in treating cancer. However, these therapies can result in significant side effects, either as single agents or combinations, as the antibody typically binds to targets on healthy tissue, not just targets on cancer cells. These side effects can limit patients’ ability to complete a course of therapy and to achieve the full benefit of treatment.

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CytomX’s response to these reactions is the Probody platform to develop therapies that remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated in the disease microenvironment. The company’s lead program is for PD-L1, which has been focused on dismantling the barrier between cancer cells and T cell attackers.

Probodies are designed to bind selectively to tumors, and not to healthy tissue, and to minimize toxic side effects and creating safer, more effective cancer therapies, according to CytomX’s site.

"We believe that our Probody platform will allow us to improve the combined efficacy and safety profile, or therapeutic window, of monoclonal antibody modalities including cancer immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and T-cell-recruiting bispecific antibodies," the company said in the filing.

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According to Fierce Biotech, CytomX's CX-072 won't be ready for an IND filing until the second half of 2016. But even with the late start, the biotech believes it has an inside track at a new-and-better technology.

"Our Probody therapeutics are designed to take advantage of unique conditions in the tumor microenvironment to enhance the tumor-targeting features of an antibody and reduce drug activity in healthy tissues," said the company. "We are currently developing Probody therapeutics that address clinically-validated cancer targets in immuno-oncology, such as PD-L1, as well as novel targets, such as CD-166, that are difficult to drug and lead to concerns about damage to healthy tissues, or toxicities."

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[SOURCE: Silicon Valley Business Journal, Fierce Biotech]

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Jun 17, 2021

Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT

3 min
Erez Yarkoni, Global VP, explains how a three-way partnership between Check Point, HOOPP, and Microsoft is yielding optimum cloud security

Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.

“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.

Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:

  • Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
  • CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
  • Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data


However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”

In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies. 

The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help. 

“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”

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