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Ajax Therapeutics Raises $95 Million Series C Financing To Advance First-in-Class Type II JAK2 Inhibitor, AJ1-11095, Into The Clinic

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Ajax Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, raised $95 million in Series C financing to advance their Type II JAK2 Inhibitor, AJ1-11095, into clinical trials for myelofibrosis treatment. The financing was led by Goldman Sachs Alternatives and included several new and existing investors. AJ1-11095 is designed to provide better efficacy and disease modification compared to current JAK2 inhibitors. The company aims to address unmet needs in treating myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) with innovative therapies.

Positive
  • Successful oversubscribed Series C financing of $95 million to support clinical development of AJ1-11095 for myelofibrosis treatment and advancing MPNs treatments.

  • New investors, including Lilly, Vivo Capital, RA Capital Management, Point72, joined the financing, indicating confidence in Ajax Therapeutics.

  • AJ1-11095 is the first Type II JAK2 Inhibitor to enter clinical trials, offering potential benefits over existing Type I inhibitors.

  • Ajax's collaboration with Schrödinger led to the design of AJ1-11095 for greater efficacy and disease modification, showing promise in preclinical studies.

Negative
  • Despite advancements in JAK inhibitors, patients with MPNs still face unmet needs, indicating the challenging nature of the disease.

  • The success of AJ1-11095 in clinical trials and its effectiveness compared to current treatments remains to be seen, posing a risk to investors.

Financing led by Goldman Sachs Alternatives with participation by new investors Lilly, Vivo Capital, RA Capital Management, Point72 and existing investors

– AJ1-11095 will be the first Type II JAK2 Inhibitor to enter the clinic; Phase 1 study in myelofibrosis expected to begin in 2H 2024 –

NEW YORK & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ajax Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing next generation JAK inhibitors for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), today announced the closing of an oversubscribed $95 million Series C financing. Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the clinical development of Ajax’s first-in-class Type II JAK2 inhibitor, AJ1‑11095, for the treatment of myelofibrosis, as well as advancing the company’s pipeline of treatments for MPNs.

The financing was led by Goldman Sachs Alternatives with participation by Eli Lilly and Company, Vivo Capital, RA Capital Management, Point72 and existing investors EcoR1 Capital, Boxer Capital, Schrödinger, Inc. and Inning One Ventures. Concurrent with the financing, Amit Sinha, Head of Life Sciences Investing and Ming Cheah, PhD, Vice President, within Life Sciences Investing at Goldman Sachs Alternatives, joined Ajax’s board of directors.

“We’re pleased to have attracted this level of support from such distinguished life sciences investors and biopharmaceutical companies in addition to our existing investor syndicate,” said Martin Vogelbaum, co-founder and CEO of Ajax Therapeutics. “We are now well positioned to bring much needed innovation to the field of JAK inhibitors for the treatment of MPNs and look forward to advancing AJ1‑11095 into the clinic for myelofibrosis later this year.”

AJ1-11095 was designed by Ajax, through our collaboration with Schrödinger, using structure-based drug design and computational methods at scale, to selectively bind the Type II conformation of the JAK2 kinase and to provide greater efficacy with disease modification compared to all currently approved JAK2 inhibitors which bind the Type I conformation of JAK2. Additionally, AJ1-11095 has been shown in preclinical studies to maintain efficacy against MPN cells that become resistant to chronic Type I JAK2 inhibition.

“Despite significant advances brought by the introduction of JAK inhibitors, patients with MPNs continue to have major unmet needs as current therapies, including Type I JAK2 inhibitors, often fail to provide adequate symptomatic relief and have little effect on the underlying disease,” said Amit Sinha, Head of Life Sciences Investing at Goldman Sachs Alternatives. “We look forward to working with Ajax’s management team to bring novel therapies, such as AJ1-11095, to patients with myelofibrosis.”

“JAK2 overactivation is central to the pathogenesis of MPNs and a Type II JAK2 inhibitor has the potential to address MPNs beyond myelofibrosis, including patients with polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia” said Ming Cheah, a Vice President in Life Sciences Investing at Goldman Sachs Alternatives. “We are proud to support the Company in delivering a new generation of transformational treatments for MPN patients.”

“This financing reinforces the value of Ajax’s approach to inhibiting JAK2 with its Type II inhibitor, AJ1-11095,” said Dr. Ross Levine, Ajax co-founder and Chair of Ajax’s Scientific Advisory Board, Senior Vice President for MH Translational Research and Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “My lab has been studying Type II inhibition of JAK2 for over 10 years and we believe AJ1-11095 possesses the unique therapeutic properties and disease modifying effects of a highly selective and potent Type II JAK2 inhibitor and we’re excited to bring it to patients with MF.”

About Ajax Therapeutics

Ajax Therapeutics, Inc. is pursuing uniquely selective approaches to develop novel next generation therapies for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), including myelofibrosis. By combining the deep cancer and structural biology insights of our founding scientists with the industry’s most advanced computational drug discovery and protein structure platforms, we aim to discover and develop more precisely designed therapies to address the significant unmet needs for patients with MPNs.

Please find more information at www.ajaxtherapeutics.com.

About Goldman Sachs Alternatives

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) is one of the leading investors in alternatives globally, with over $450 billion in assets and more than 30 years of experience. The business invests in the full spectrum of alternatives including private equity, growth equity, life sciences, private credit, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds, and sustainability. Clients access these solutions through direct strategies, customized partnerships, and open-architecture programs. The business is driven by a focus on partnership and shared success with its clients, seeking to deliver long-term investment performance drawing on its global network and deep expertise across industries and markets. The alternative investments platform is part of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which delivers investment and advisory services across public and private markets for the world’s leading institutions, financial advisors, and individuals. Goldman Sachs has over $2.8 trillion in assets under supervision globally as of March 31, 2024.

NOTE: Dr. Ross Levine serves on the board of directors of, has provided advisory services for, and has equity interests in Ajax Therapeutics. Dr. Levine also has intellectual property rights and interests that MSK has licensed to Ajax. MSK has intellectual property rights and other financial interests related to Ajax.

Kathryn Morris, The Yates Network LLC

914-204-6412

kathryn@theyatesnetwork.com

Source: Ajax Therapeutics, Inc.

FAQ

Who led the Series C financing for Ajax Therapeutics?

Goldman Sachs Alternatives led the $95 million Series C financing for Ajax Therapeutics.

What is the purpose of the financing for Ajax Therapeutics?

The financing will support the clinical development of AJ1-11095, a Type II JAK2 Inhibitor, for myelofibrosis treatment and advancing the company's pipeline for MPNs.

What is the significance of AJ1-11095 entering clinical trials?

AJ1-11095 is the first Type II JAK2 Inhibitor to enter clinical trials, offering potential benefits over existing Type I inhibitors.

How was AJ1-11095 designed?

AJ1-11095 was designed by Ajax through a collaboration with Schrödinger using structure-based drug design and computational methods to selectively bind the Type II conformation of the JAK2 kinase.

Why is there a need for novel therapies for MPNs?

Current therapies, including Type I JAK2 inhibitors, often fail to provide adequate symptomatic relief and little effect on the underlying disease, highlighting the necessity for innovative treatments.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

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