Find out which biopharma companies are raking in the cash this week, as companies from around the globe provide updates on their financing rounds and IPOs.
Based in Shanghai with operations in both China and the U.S., CARsgen has had a series of wins in 2020, including a $186 million Series C financing round completed just this week. CARsgen is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on first-in-class and best-in-class CAR T-cell and antibody therapeutics. The company's candidate CT041 received IND clearance for claudin18.2-positive solid tumors, followed by orphan drug designation for the treatment of gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers. CARsgen also received a positive EMA opinion on its CT053 CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma. "I am pleased that CARsgen has repeatedly received recognition and support from leading financial institutes and professional investors. This Series C funding will accelerate CARsgen's ongoing clinical trials in China, the United States, and Europe, and will support expanding our commercial manufacturing facilities," said Dr. Zonghai Li, Founder, President, CEO, and CSO of CARsgen.
Also out of Shanghai with its eye on CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, Gracell scooped up $100 million in their Series C. Gracell uses its proprietary platform technology TruUCAR to manufacture its candidates with selected genes being edited to avoid GvHD and immune rejection without the need for strong immunosuppressive drugs. In April, the company reported positive early efficacy outcomes in initial first-in-human trial in five patients with T-ALL, a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The second platform is called FasTCAR, in which Gracell is able to deliver younger, less exhausted T-cells for autologous cell therapies with greater potency and next-day manufacturing. Lilly Asia Ventures hedged its bets for CAR T-cell therapies by participating in the rounds for both CARsgen and Gracell.
Q32 has taken 2020 by storm – launching in May with $46 million, dosing its first clinical trial patient and sealing the deal on a $60 million Series B on October 29. Originally planned to conduct its ADX-914 study in the Netherlands, Q32 made the quick switch to Australia due to regulatory restrictions prompted by COVID-19. ADX-914 is targeting Sjogren's disease in this clinical trial, by inhibiting the IL-7R signaling to re-regulate the adaptive immune function that causes autoimmune disease. Proceeds from the funding are intended to propel ADX-914 through demonstration of proof-of mechanism as well as take Q32’s groundbreaking tissue-targeted complement regulation platform to clinic.
Partnered with an unnamed global pharmaceutical company, Elpis Biopharmaceuticals launched with a $30 million series A along with $10 million in seed funding. The financing will propel the company's solid tumor and hematological disease therapeutics through pre-clinical studies. Elpis’ mRNADis antibody discovery and mSCAFold rational protein engineering platforms enable rapid and robust discovery of novel bi-specific antibodies, dual targeting and armored CAR-T, and mechanism re-directed immunomodulator proteins. The company hopes to engineer better treatment options for cancer patients through its biologics platform.
Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies
This $5.5 million Series A will help ACT advance its ACT-IOP-003 system to clinical development for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The novel implantable drug delivery system will use a mild electric current to deliver the chemotherapy drug, gemcitabine, through the dense tumor microenvironment directly to the tumor. This approach minimizes system toxicity commonly associated with chemo treatments for pancreatic cancer, optimized the amount of drug that reaches the tumor, increases tumor shrinkage for surgical resection, the only curative treatment for pancreatic cancer. In preclinical studies, 100% of pancreatic cancer tumors treated with the device using gemcitabine shrunk by an average of 40%, while tumors treated with intravenously delivered gemcitabine grew an average of 240%. Tony Voiers, CEO of ACT said, “We are now poised to move our lead product into the clinic, where we will have the opportunity to treat pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest of all cancers, and to continue to develop new applications for our novel drug delivery approach.”
Massive Bio has seen a massive growth in demand for its AI-enabled patient centric oncology clinical trial enrollment this year accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $2.6 million infusion will enable the company to scale to meet the demands globally for its recruitment platform solutions. Only 3-5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials, a statistic which has only decreased since the pandemic hit. “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the clinical trial industry needs a digital health technology solution to assist in study enrollment now more than ever,” said Cenk Bayrakdar, Revo Capital's Managing Director. “Massive Bio has a unique solution that was purpose-built to address the challenges associated with clinical trial recruitment challenges, which aligned with their patient-centric approach makes it a powerful solution for the industry, and we are excited to collaborate with and support them as they work to transform their ideas into a world-changing company.”
CARsgen总部位于上海，在中国和美国都有业务，该公司在2020年取得了一系列胜利，包括本周刚刚完成的1.86亿美元C轮融资。CARsgen是一家临床阶段的免疫肿瘤学公司，专注于一流和最好的CAR T细胞和抗体治疗。该公司的候选CT041因Claudin18.2阳性实体瘤获得IND清除，随后被指定为治疗胃和胃食管结合部癌的孤儿药。CARsgen还获得了EMA对其CT053 CAR T细胞疗法治疗多发性骨髓瘤的积极意见。CARsgen公司创始人，总裁，首席执行官兼CSO李宗海博士说:“我很高兴CARsgen公司一再得到领先金融机构和专业投资者的认可和支持。这笔C系列资金将加速CARsgen公司在中国，美国和欧洲正在进行的临床试验，并将支持扩大我们的商业制造设施。”
此外，Gracell公司还在上海投资了用于治疗癌症的CAR T细胞疗法，在C系列中获得了1亿美元的资金。Gracell公司利用其专有平台技术TruUCAR来生产候选基因，这些基因经过编辑，可以避免GvHD和免疫排斥反应，而无需使用强效免疫抑制药物。4月，该公司在5名T-ALL（一种急性淋巴细胞白血病）患者的首次人体试验中报告了积极的早期疗效结果。第二个平台被称为FasTCAR，Gracell能够提供更年轻，更少耗尽的T细胞，用于自体细胞治疗，具有更大的效力和第二天的生产。Lilly Asia Ventures通过参与CARsgen和Gracell的融资，对冲了对汽车T细胞疗法的押注。
Elpis Biopharmaceuticals与一家未透露姓名的全球制药公司合作，启动了3000万美元的a系列融资和1000万美元的种子资金。这笔融资将通过临床前研究推动公司的实体肿瘤和血液病疗法。ELPIS公司的mRNADis抗体发现和mSCAFold rational蛋白质工程平台能够快速和稳健地发现新的双特异性抗体，双靶向和装甲CAR-T以及机制重定向免疫调节蛋白。该公司希望通过其biologics平台为癌症患者设计更好的治疗方案。
Massive Bio今年发现，受COVID-19大流行的影响，支持人工智能的以患者为中心的肿瘤临床试验注册需求大幅增长。260万美元的注资将使该公司能够扩大规模，以满足全球对其招聘平台解决方案的需求。只有3-5%的癌症患者参与临床试验，这一统计数字自大流行袭击以来仅有所下降。Revo Capital的董事总经理Cenk Bayrakdar说:“在COVID-19大流行及以后，临床试验行业现在比以往任何时候都更需要一种数字健康技术解决方案来帮助研究注册。Massive Bio有一个独特的解决方案，专门针对与临床试验招募相关的挑战，这与他们以患者为中心的方法相一致，使其成为业界的一个强有力的解决方案，我们很高兴能够与他们合作并支持他们，因为他们正在努力将自己的想法转变成一家改变世界的公司。“