Osage University Partners is among the series B investors backing Virginia Tech-linked IBD therapy disease developer Landos Biopharma, which is preparing phase 2 trials.

Landos Biopharma, a US-based autoimmune disease therapeutics developer exploiting Virginia Tech research, yesterday closed a $60m series B round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Biopharmaceuticals-focused investment firm RTW Investments and hedge fund manager Perceptive Advisors co-led the round, with the latter investing from its Xontogeny Venture and Life Sciences funds.

Venture capital firm PBM Capital also contributed, as did undisclosed new additional investors.

Landos Biopharma is developing a small molecule-based drug called BT-11 that tackles autoimmune and inflammatory dysfunctions responsible for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – the two clinical manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

BT-11 activates a genetically-encoded protein called Lanthionine Synthetase C-Like protein 2 (LANCL2) to slow the biological production of IBD-provoking inflammatory cytokines and boost the supply of anti-inflammatory molecules which hinder autoimmune attacks on the body.

The approach demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models and was shown to be well-tolerated by humans during a phase 1 study.

LANCL2’s potential in tackling IBD was first identified and validated by Landos chief scientific officer Raquel Hontecillas-Magarzo, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech who leads mucosal immunology research at the university’s Biocomplexity Institute.

The company was founded by Josep Bassaganya-Riera, director of the institute’s nutritional immunology and molecular medicine laboratory.

Landos will put the funding towards two phase 2 trials of its drug, with the aim of treating both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The business previously obtained $10m of series A funding from Perceptive Advisors in September 2017.