Nimbus Therapeutics, with its experienced leadership, well-established R&D platform, and substantial financing, appears well-positioned for success in the public markets. In its most recent private financing round, the company secured an impressive $210 million, bringing its total financing to over $600 million since its inception approximately 14 years ago.
This new funding injection, revealed recently, will empower Nimbus to advance the development of NDI 1150-101, a cancer medication targeting HPK1. CEO Jeb Keiper prefers to categorize their funding rounds as chapters in the company’s journey, refraining from conventional terminology like “crossover rounds.” Each chapter signifies a milestone, with the recent sale of a midstage plaque psoriasis drug to Takeda for $4 billion upfront marking the beginning of chapter 3. Chapter 1 concluded when Nimbus sold an ACC program for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis to Gilead Sciences back in 2016.
Nimbus has maintained an unconventional approach in the biotech sector, questioning the wisdom of smaller biotechs transitioning into multinational pharmaceutical giants, unlike counterparts such as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Kite Pharma. Keiper emphasizes the importance of choosing a path as an R&D innovation player focused on novel small molecules, a role Nimbus has embraced.
While bringing a drug to market is a commendable achievement, the complexities and costs associated with commercialization are substantial. Nimbus did consider a plan B had Takeda not acquired its TYK2 inhibitor but refrained from building a commercial wing. Despite the influx of cash, the company intends to remain privately held.
The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act posed challenges, particularly for small molecules like those at the core of Nimbus’ research, which have shorter lifespans before government price negotiations begin. However, Nimbus’ diverse therapeutic portfolio has been an advantage in navigating these policy changes and managing risk, according to Keiper.
Nimbus’ current focus is on ND1 1150-101, a groundbreaking immunotherapy designed to elicit a more robust and diverse immune response in solid tumors compared to checkpoint inhibitors. The drug has progressed to dose expansion in a phase 1 trial, with data anticipated at an upcoming medical conference, though the exact timing remains unspecified.
In this field, Nimbus faces competition from Pfizer, which is also testing its own HPK1 medication in a phase 1 trial. Keiper emphasizes the importance of demonstrating the effectiveness of the drug as a monotherapy, a crucial factor for drug regulators to ascertain its true impact in fighting cancer. This approach underscores Nimbus’ commitment to maintaining integrity and credibility in its pursuit of innovative cancer therapies.