SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IconOVir Bio, Inc., a preclinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the next generation of oncolytic virus therapy to improve the treatment of patients with cancer, today announced it has raised $77 million in a Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Nextech and Vida Ventures, with participation from Two River Group, Bellco Capital, Polaris Partners, GV, Wellington Partners Venture Capital and Logos Capital. IconOVir was founded by Two River Group, chaired by Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, the team who founded Kite Pharma, Inc., Allogene Therapeutics, Inc., and Kronos Bio, Inc. IconOVir also announced the appointment of Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer.
IconOVir has developed a proprietary platform to create next-generation oncolytic viruses based on more than a decade of oncolytic virus research by IconOVir’s Scientific Founder Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences. IconOVir’s discovery pipeline of multiple differentiated oncolytic virus candidates have the potential to be potent, tumor-selective, administered intravenously and broadly infect tumor cells.
“Conquering cancer requires therapeutic agents that are as genetically sophisticated and deadly as the tumor itself,” said Dr. O’Shea. “With a team of visionary leaders, IconOVir has the requisite experience to translate transformative science into game changing cancer therapies. As Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, I look forward to providing my insights and expertise towards advancing the IconOVir pipeline into the clinic.”
IconOVir’s lead candidate, IOV-1042 is derived from the common cold virus. Preclinical research has shown that IOV-1042 infects and kills a broad range of tumor cells, including head and neck, bladder, lung and breast, suggesting that it could have potential utility in a wide range of solid tumor indications. IconOVir expects to submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for IOV-1042 in the first half of 2022.
“IconOVir has a proven management team, led by Dr. Mark McCamish, and its oncolytic viral platform has the ability to transform the clinical landscape for how we treat patients with solid tumors,” said David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of IconOVir’s Board of Directors. “Given my personal experience in developing oncolytic viruses, I look forward to working with Mark, the management team and other Board members to grow this company and advance innovative oncolytic virotherapy, which has the potential to be disruptive to the current cancer treatment paradigm.”
Dr. McCamish has extensive experience in drug development in the biopharmaceutical industry. Before joining IconOVir, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Forty Seven, Inc., an immuno-oncology company acquired by Gilead. Dr. McCamish earned an M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in human nutrition from Penn State University.
“We are committed to designing and developing the next generation of high-potency, tumor-selective oncolytic viruses that can be used in a wide variety of solid tumors, including metastatic disease. This can address the major limitations of the only currently marketed oncolytic virus therapy,” said Dr. McCamish. “In pursuit of that goal, and in collaboration with Dr. O’Shea, we have created a robust discovery pipeline. With our Series A financing, raised from the support of premier healthcare investors, we believe we have the financial resources to advance our product candidates into clinical development over the next 18 to 24 months.”
“IconOVir has everything we look for when investing in an oncology company. It has a founding team of academic thought leaders and seasoned company builders, a Board and scientific advisors with deep expertise in oncology, and a differentiated discovery pipeline with next-generational oncolytic viruses based on groundbreaking research,” said Jakob Loven, Ph.D., Partner at Nextech.
“We invested in IconOVir based on the stellar combination of team experience and the company’s high throughput synthetic and systems biology platform. We believe IconOVir’s approach to cancer by engineering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing curative virus-based oncology therapies will be a game changer,” said Helen Kim, Managing Director, Vida Ventures.
IconOVir Board of Directors
The company’s Board of Directors has deep oncology expertise and decades of experience in oncology innovation. In addition to Dr. McCamish, the Board includes:
- Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, Executive Chairman, Co-Founder of Allogene Therapeutics and Co-Founder, Sr. Managing Director of Vida Ventures
- David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allogene Therapeutics
- Joshua Kazam, Partner, Two River Group
- Helen Kim, Managing Director, Vida Ventures
- Jakob Loven, Ph.D., Partner, Nextech
About IconOVir Bio
IconOVir Bio is a preclinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the next generation of oncolytic virus therapy to improve the treatment of patients with cancer. The Company’s proprietary oncolytic virus platform is based on technology developed by scientific founder Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute. It is designed to address key limitations of first- and second-generation oncolytic viruses and provide a personalized therapy for cancer patients. For more information, please visit www.iconovir.com and follow IconoVir on LinkedIn.