Octimet bags €11m for development of cancer drugs

Belgian start-up company Octimet Oncology NV has secured €11.3m in a series A financing round. The funds will be used to develop two MET kinase blockers to treat solid tumours.


The Series A funding round was led by V-Bio Ventures (Belgium) and Fund+ (Belgium). DROIA Oncology Ventures (Luxembourg/Belgium) and OMNES Capital (France) acted as co-investors. Octimet’s current pipeline relies on several selective MET (Mesenchymal-eptihelial Transition Factor) kinase inhibitors, licensed from Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. The company, which was founded last year as an translational accelerator with support of the J&J (Open) Innovation Centre, is based on the Janssen campus in Beerse, Belgium.

The company said, it wants to develop personalised cancer treatments including biomarkers for selection of responders to differentiate itself from competitors (i.e. such  as Daiichi Sankyo which is developing the MET kinase blocker tivantinib in hepatocellular carcinoma and NSCLC). The current focus is on its clinical stage asset OMO-1, a highly selective small molecule MET inhibitor that will be developed with specific biomarkers, whilst an additional late pre-clinical stage oncology asset 0MO-2 will also enter the portfolio.

Competition in the field is fierce with players such as Novartis, Daiichi, Sankyo, Merck KgaA and others around. MET inhibitors are often classified as selective and non-selective MET tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The former includes AMG-208, ASLAN002 (BMS 777607), Amgen, INC280, JNJ38877605, MK-2461, MK-8033, MSC2156119J (EMD 1214063), PF4217903, PHA665752, SGX126, tivantinib (ARQ 197), and volitinib (HMPL-504). The latter includes ANG-797, cabozantinib (XL184), crizotinib (Xalkori, PF-02341066), foretinib (GSK1363089 or XL880), golvatinib (E7050), MGCD265, and MP470. Among them, tivantinib, cabozantinib, INC280, MSC2156119J, golvatinib, and foretinib are being evaluated in HCC patients

Christina Takke, managing partner at V-Bio Ventures and new on the Board of Directors at Octimet Oncology, said: “OCTIMET’s approach combined with new scientific evidence, a very strong clinical candidate and led by a seasoned management team enables the development of truly differentiated treatment options.” Her Board colleage Jan Van den Bossche, partner at Fund+, added: “The impressive dataset that was available and the experienced and highly motivated management team provided us the necessary comfort to support this exciting venture.”


Sign up for our newsletter!