CorriXR sees investment from Oklahoma investment firm
WILMINGTON — Leveraging the past connections of CorriXR Therapeutics CEO Deborah Moorad, the gene-editing cancer drug firm has landed an investment from Oklahoma-based venture capital firm Cortado Ventures.
The investment amount is undisclosed, but CorriXR Therapeutics Chief of Staff Jennifer Kmiec said it was enough to position the company to advance therapies to clinical trials. CorriXR is using patent gene-editing technology to improve cancer care by overcoming drug resistance in tumors. Right now, the firm’s focus is targeting squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, esophagus, and head and neck.
“This investment is allowing us to gather data on additional tumor targets, including in the brain,” Kmiec told the Delaware Business Times. “We anticipate clinical trials starting the first quarter of 2025.”
Cortado Ventures’ investment also allowed CorriXR to complete its seed funding, putting the company on strong footing for its upcoming Series A financing in 2024. As of October 2023, the firm had at least $2 million seed funding raised.
“The investment from Cortado will help us expand our oncology pipeline and prepare for our clinical launch,” Moorad said in a prepared statement. “The Cortado investment is very instrumental in our development plan and reaching a critical inflection point: first in human clinical data.”
Cortado Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that looks to invest in growth-driven companies, and among the largest funds in Oklahoma. While the firm targets the central United States, it also focuses heavily on tech and life sciences sectors as the future of industry. Before coming aboard CorriXR in fall 2023, Moorad also served as entrepreneur in residence at Cortado Ventures and worked to find new investment opportunities for the firm.
Moorad got connected to CorriXR through the 2023 BIO Conference in Boston, where she ran into an old friend Chris Yochim, who serves as chair of the Delaware BioScience Association. Yochim quickly called CorriXR Founder and then-CEO Eric Kmiec to meet Moorad, and arranged a follow-up meeting the next day.
From there, Moorad introduced Eric and Jennifer Kmiec to Cortado Managing Partner Mike Moradi. That inspired Cortado representatives to do due diligence on CorriXR as an investment opportunity. When Moorad started as the CorriXR CEO in September, talks were ongoing with Cortado on a future investment.
Cortado Ventures Managing Partner Nathaniel Harding said in a prepared statement that the firm was “proud to support” Moorad as she transitions to lead CorriXR.
“We are excited to announce our investment in CorriXR Therapeutics, a company at the forefront of biotherapeutics development,” Harding said. “Their groundbreaking gene editing platform has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment, offering hope to patients facing various solid tumors. Cortado is [also] proud to support CorriXR’s mission to advance innovative and effective therapies.”
CorriXR Therapeutics has also received a major milestone in positive feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That prompted the firm to consider a basket trial for lung, esophageal, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma treatments.