Maxion to develop antibody platform with $16m funding

Maxion's $16 million Series A financing round will be used to develop biologics targeting ion channels and GPCRs via its KnotBody platform.

Millie Nelson, Editor

February 17, 2023

2 Min Read
Maxion to develop antibody platform with $16m funding
DepositPhotos/ kchungtw

Maxion Therapeutics’ $16 million Series A financing round will be used to develop biologics targeting ion channels and GPCRs via its KnotBody platform.

Cambridge, UK based firm Maxion said ion channels and G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are essential cell surface proteins, which can be used to treat a range of diseases, including chronic pain and autoimmune conditions.

The Series A funding round, led by LifeArc Ventures, BGF, and Monograph Capital, will support the advancement of Maxion’s KnotBody platform. To date, small molecule drugs have been successfully created against ion channels, but there are no authorized antibody drugs of this target class.



“Antibodies represent a growing therapeutic modality which has revolutionised treatment of many diseases. Ion channels are an important target class involved in health and disease and it is logical to apply the benefits of antibodies to this target class. Despite efforts however, biotechnologists have failed to make antibody drugs which modulate ion channels. In contrast nature uses small cysteine-rich peptides (“knottins”) found in venom to modulate ion channels (in predation and defense),” said John McCafferty, CEO and Aneesh Karatt Vellatt, CSO, Maxion.

“Potentially knottins could be used to create ion channel modifying drugs but knottins are difficult to engineer, hard to produce, have poor specificity and are cleared quickly from the body. The KnotBody platform combines the benefits and overcomes the limitations of both molecules by fusing knottins into the surface of antibodies.”

The KnotBody platform works by the knottin being fused inside the gene encoding an antibody so that the protein is manufactured with the knottin on the surface of the antibody. In turn, this forms an ion-channel modulating antibody with the properties of an antibody. Additionally, KnotBodies are responsive to all standard engineering techniques, such as phage display.

“The technology has already generated several drug leads and the first of these will be improved further and advanced towards clinical trial,” McCafferty and Karatt Vellatt told us.

“In addition, the company will initiate development of KnotBodies to three other targets. KnotBody technology is relatively mature having been under development for seven years. The overall platform however relies on working with ion channels, which are considered a difficult target class. We will continue with the progress we have made towards efficient expression, purification, and characterization of ion channels to facilitate discovery of new KnotBodies.”

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

You May Also Like