Shasqi Completes $10 Million Series A Financing
October 31, 2019
– Combination of prodrug and a prodrug-activating biomaterial improve the therapeutic index and responses to conventional chemotherapy
– Company initiating human clinical testing in Q2 2020
San Francisco, CA (October 31, 2019): Shasqi, Inc., a privately held company focused on improving the localized delivery of cancer drugs to tumors, today announced the completion of a $10 million Series A financing. The proceeds of the financing are being used to complete GMP manufacturing for the company’s lead drug candidate and to support a Phase 1 human trial, expected to commence in Q2 2020.
Investors in the financing round included Y Combinator and a group of primarily high net-worth private investors.
José M. Mejía Oneto, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shasqi, said “In preclinical models, our novel, highly targeted delivery technology allowed us to increase active drug at a tumor site by more than 25 fold, resulting in a high level of sustainable, complete responses with fewer side-effects than current approaches. We are extremely optimistic based on these results, and anticipate that our approach should similarly enable us to treat human cancers with higher doses of powerful cancer therapies, while greatly reducing treatment-limiting toxicities.”
“We are very grateful to our investors, whose support enables us to advance our novel treatment approach into human clinical trials,” Dr. Mejia Oneto added.
The safety and effectiveness of most cancer therapies has been limited by the fact that only 1-2 percent of an administered drug typically reaches the tumor. The remainder of each dose is effectively being wasted and contributes to off-target side-effects. Shasqi’s local drug activation approach uses a patented proprietary biomaterial containing activating agents. When injected at the tumor site, it concentrates and activates prodrug versions of cancer drugs directly at the site of disease, maximizing the drug’s action where it is needed.
Uri Lopatin, M.D., visiting partner at Y Combinator said: “We are extremely happy to see Shasqi moving their novel cancer therapy delivery platform into human clinical trials. Part of Y Combinator’s mission is to support founders who are creating companies and technologies that can make the world a better place. It is a privilege to help companies like Shasqi that are developing novel approaches aimed at increasing cures for cancer - and we are enthused to see them advancing into human studies.”