BOSTON & ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sensei Biotherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company, today announced the successful closing of a $30 million Series B financing. The financing was co-led by existing investor Apeiron Investment Group and new investor Catalio Capital Management. Additional investments included new investors Pura Vida Investments and several international family offices, as well as existing investors Cambrian Biopharma, Moore Strategic Ventures, Steve Jurvetson’s Future Ventures, and Presight Capital.
“We believe Sensei’s ImmunoPhage platform represents the future of personalized cancer therapies. With our technology, once a patient’s cancer is genetically profiled we can have a personalized cocktail of ImmunoPhage delivered to that patient within a week. This is a critical improvement over the months it takes for existing personalized approaches in cancer, where every day matters for patients,” said John Celebi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sensei Biotherapeutics. “I’m delighted to be working with this fantastic group of both new and existing investors to advance Sensei’s platform and provide life-changing therapies to more patients.”
The ImmunoPhage platform uses genetically engineered viruses called bacteriophage to create robust immune responses to human cancer proteins and block key immunosuppressive pathways. ImmunoPhage are highly immunogenic and can be manufactured quickly, inexpensively, and at large scale. Sensei is expanding its proprietary Phortress™ library consisting of pre-manufactured, GMP-grade ImmunoPhage. Using the Phortress library, ImmunoPhage are selected and customized for each cancer patient using a personalized yet off the shelf cocktail approach to deliver a potent immunotherapy to the patient in a rapid and cost-effective manner.
Sensei’s lead ImmunoPhage product candidate, SNS‑301, is being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 trial for the treatment of locally advanced unresectable or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) in combination with pembrolizumab. Promising interim results were published in Q4 2020, and topline results from this trial are expected by the end of 2021.
Sensei is also advancing two preclinical programs generated from its platform, including SNS-401, an ImmunoPhage cocktail for the treatment of merkel cell carcinoma, and SNS‑VISTA, a monoclonal antibody targeting V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA), an immune checkpoint protein that inhibits the anti-tumor T cell response.
Christian Angermayer, founder of Apeiron Investment Group, said, “Sensei’s approach has the realistic potential to overcome the prior challenges of cancer immunotherapy and make advancements we previously couldn’t dream of. If a loved one got cancer today, I would want them to have access to a treatment that is both fast and personalized to their disease. And down the road, we might even be able to develop the therapy towards a real prophylactic cancer vaccination, so that we end cancer before it even starts.”
“Sensei has the right mix of proprietary technology and experienced management to advance potentially game-changing therapeutic candidates in the cancer immunotherapy field,” remarked George Petrocheilos, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Catalio Capital Management. “We look forward to collaborating again with Christian and working with the Sensei leadership team, as they advance a novel pipeline of cancer immunotherapy candidates and execute on their goal of transforming the treatment of cancer.”
About Sensei Biotherapeutics
Sensei Biotherapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and delivery of next generation of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. The company has developed a proprietary phage-based platform, ImmunoPhage™, that enables the rapid generation of immune activating agents that fully engage the immune system. Using its proprietary ImmunoPhage™ platform, Sensei is developing a library of ImmunoPhage called Phortress™ targeting multiple tumor associated antigens to treat patients using a personalized yet off the shelf cocktail approach. The platform enables efficient, scalable and cost-effective manufacturing to support all clinical programs. Its most advanced program, SNS-301, a first-in-class ImmunoPhage™ targeting Aspartyl beta Hydroxylase (ASPH) in advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN), is currently enrolling patients in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial. Its earlier stage programs include SNS-401, a ImmunoPhage™ cocktail for the treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma and SNS-VISTA, antibody-based therapeutic targeting V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA). The company brings together scientific leaders in biology, immunology, and oncology along with a highly experienced management team and scientific advisors. For more information, please visit www.senseibio.com.