OTTAWA, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Turnstone Biologics Inc., a developer of novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies, today announced the completion of a $41.4 million series B financing led by new investor OrbiMed with participation from new investor F-Prime Capital Partners and existing investors FACIT and Versant Ventures, which led Turnstone’s series A financing.
This financing takes place less than a year from the series A that allowed the company to progress its lead asset through the initial Phase I/II trial to establish safety, maximum tolerated dose and initial evidence of immunological activity in patients with advanced solid and metastatic tumors. The series B will support completion of the ongoing Phase I/II trial, as well as fund three additional clinical programs that will start this year and next.
“We are taking a rapid and expansive approach to clinical development with the goals of exploiting the full potential of our platform and positioning it to most benefit patients,” said Turnstone CEO Sammy Farah, Ph.D. “There is reason to be excited about the heavily differentiated nature of our technology and the promising clinical results that have been generated to date.”
Turnstone’s platform targets tumors using a two-pronged mechanism of action, by functioning both as a tumor-destroying oncolytic agent and as an immune-stimulating vaccine directed at specific cancer antigens. The result should be induction of a potent immune response and strong anti-tumor activity.
Turnstone’s most advanced product is an oncolytic Maraba virus that is engineered to express melanoma-associated antigen A3 (MAGEA3). Completion of the Phase I/II monotherapy trial is expected in 2017. Later this year, Turnstone plans to start a new Phase I/II trial with this product in combination with an approved checkpoint inhibitor in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
"We are thrilled to work with the scientific founders led by Dr. John Bell, and the team at Turnstone, to develop this innovative technology. Because of its unique ability to elicit a potent T cell response and modify the tumor microenvironment, it holds great potential as both a standalone therapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibition, where we look forward to preliminary clinical data next year,” said OrbiMed Partner Rishi Gupta, J.D.
Two additional programs, each with oncolytic Maraba viruses expressing different tumor antigens for various cancer indications, are expected to enter clinical trials by the end of next year. Turnstone is also advancing pipeline programs in the areas of neoantigen-based personalized cancer vaccines and new oncolytic virus development.
“We are encouraged by the rapid advancement of Turnstone’s unique Maraba platform and multiple follow-on programs during the past year. We welcome the addition of OrbiMed and F-Prime who will help build on this foundation and accelerate development of the pipeline,” said Jerel Davis, Ph.D., managing director at Versant Ventures.
In conjunction with the financing, Mr. Gupta and F-Prime’s Ben Auspitz will join Turnstone’s board of directors alongside existing board Chairman Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., from Versant, and board members Dr. Davis, Jeff Courtney from FACIT, John Bell, Ph.D., from the Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa, and Dr. Farah.
Turnstone Biologics Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies for cancer. Turnstone's therapeutic platform is a first-in-class tumor-targeted oncolytic vaccine that combines potent tumor-killing effects of oncolytic viruses with the benefits of a cancer vaccine that harnesses the patient's own immune system to fight disease in a sustainable manner. The Company's platform leverages the innovations and expertise of its renowned founding scientists, Drs. John Bell, Brian Lichty and David Stojdl. Turnstone also is developing additional oncolytic virus strategies and immunotherapy combination treatments. For more information, please visit www.turnstonebio.com.
OrbiMed is a leading investment firm dedicated exclusively to the healthcare sector, with $14 billion in assets under management. OrbiMed invests globally across the spectrum of healthcare companies, from venture capital start-ups to large multinational companies utilizing a range of private equity funds, public equity funds, royalty/debt funds, and other investment vehicles. OrbiMed maintains offices in New York City, Herzliya, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Mumbai. As the largest investment firm dedicated to the healthcare sector globally, OrbiMed seeks to be a capital provider of choice. OrbiMed has the flexibility to provide equity and debt capital along with the global team resources required to be an exceptional long-term partner for building world-class healthcare companies.
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare investment firm committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great healthcare companies. The firm invests across the healthcare sector and at all stages of company development, with an emphasis on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. With $1.9 billion under management and offices in North America and Europe, Versant has built a team with deep investment, operating, and scientific expertise that enables a hands-on approach to company building. Since the firm's founding in 1999, more than 60 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.
About F-Prime Capital Partners
F-Prime Capital is a global venture capital firm investing in life sciences, healthcare and technology. Since 1969, F-Prime has worked closely with entrepreneurs and academics to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges in healthcare and technology.
FACIT is a business accelerator and investor established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to support the commercialization of Ontario breakthrough cancer innovations for the benefit of patients, researchers, investors and the province’s economy. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email email@example.com.