LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cell Medica (or ‘the Company’), a leading cellular immunotherapy company, has closed a £60 million Series C investment round with participation from existing investors Touchstone Innovations, funds managed by Invesco Perpetual, and funds managed by Woodford Investment Management.
Cell Medica will use the investment capital to continue to progress its three proprietary technology platforms for cell-based immunotherapy products. The Company’s lead oncology product, baltaleucel-T (CMD-003), is currently under investigation in the CITADEL Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with advanced lymphomas associated with the Epstein Barr virus. Comprised of the patient’s own immune cells, baltaleucel-T offers the potential for a targeted approach to cancer treatment with very limited side effects or toxicities. The US FDA granted fast track designation to baltaleucel-T in February 2017 in recognition of the product’s potential to address an important unmet clinical need.
Over the last year, Cell Medica has significantly expanded its technology base through two strategic collaborations and the acquisition of Delenex Therapeutics. The Company has established a product development partnership with Baylor College of Medicine to develop genetically engineered chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to reprogramme human immune cells to recognise and kill cancer cells while also preventing cancer escape mechanisms. This extensive partnership will explore the use of NKT cells, a powerful class of immune cells, to target solid tumors. This approach may also allow the use of an allogeneic off-the-shelf cell product to increase the convenience and reduce the manufacturing cost of cell-based immunotherapy treatments.
The Delenex Therapeutics acquisition has provided Cell Medica with an in-house technology platform to generate antibody fragments (scFvs) which enable CAR-NKT products to target new cancer antigens. The Delenex know-how also provides the capability to engineer immune cells to secrete blocking antibodies which prevent cancer cells from triggering inhibition pathways to down-regulate the immune response.
Cell Medica has also partnered with University College London (UCL) to develop a new approach to improve the expression of T cell receptors (TCRs) which naturally recognize cancer markers. Referred to as the Dominant TCR technology, this greatly increases the number of cancer-detecting TCRs expressed on human T cells, thereby enhancing the natural potency of these cells.
Gregg Sando, Cell Medica’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"With the strong support of our key shareholders, Cell Medica will implement the next phase of our development programme, bringing a new generation of cell-based immunotherapy products into Phase 1 clinical trials as well as completing our Phase 2 programme for baltaleucel-T. This funding enables us to continue our efforts to unlock the full potential of cellular immunotherapy for the benefit of cancer patients.”
About Cell Medica
Cell Medica is a cellular therapeutics company engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of cancer. Cellular immunotherapy is a novel form of medical treatment which has the potential to transform the treatment of cancer in the years ahead. Cell Medica is developing a range of cell-based immunotherapy products using three proprietary technology platforms including activated cytotoxic T cells, chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and engineered T cell receptors (TCRs).
Additional information can be found at www.cellmedica.co.uk.
About Touchstone Innovations – www.touchstoneinnovations.com
Touchstone Innovations plc (formerly Imperial Innovations Group plc or just “Innovations”) creates, builds and invests in pioneering technology companies and licensing opportunities developed from outstanding scientific research from the 'Golden Triangle', the geographical region broadly bounded by London, Cambridge and Oxford, which is a world-class science cluster and home to four of the world’s leading universities.
Innovations supports scientists and entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas through protecting and licensing out intellectual property (through its Technology Transfer subsidiary, Imperial Innovations), by leading the formation of new companies, by recruiting high calibre management teams and by providing investment and encouraging co-investment. Since becoming a public company in 2006, Innovations has invested £306.7 million across its portfolio companies, which have collectively raised investment of £1.5 billion.
About Invesco Perpetual
Invesco Perpetual is part of Invesco Ltd, an independent investment management firm - NYSE: IVZ; www.invesco.com. It is the business name of Invesco Fund Managers Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with number 898166 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
About Woodford Investment Management
Woodford is a fast-growing asset management company built on a founding philosophy of transparency and simplicity. Launched in May 2014, the company has £16bn assets under management. Further information can be found at https://woodfordfunds.com