PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”), a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company developing novel biotherapeutics targeting immunosuppressive myeloid checkpoints today announced the closing of a $73 million Series B1 and B2 financing. The round was led by Oceanpine Capital with participation from additional new investors including Octagon Capital and Sphera Healthcare, and existing investors, including Northern Light Venture Capital and Vivo Capital. In conjunction with this round of financing, Oceanpine CEO and managing partner Dave Chenn joins the Immune-Onc Board of Directors. In addition, the company received a strategic capital investment from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Therapy Acceleration Program® (LLS TAP), directed toward advancing the company’s work to treat blood cancers.
“We are delighted that this high-caliber group of new and existing investors share our excitement about the transformative potential of myeloid checkpoint inhibition and believe in Immune-Onc’s ability to deliver on this promise with our pipeline of first-in-class cancer immunotherapies,” said Charlene Liao, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Immune-Onc. “This round of investment was substantially over-subscribed, enabling the company to accelerate the clinical development of multiple novel assets, and deliver what we believe is the next breakthrough in immunotherapy treatment for many of the world’s most devastating cancers.”
Proceeds from the financing will allow Immune-Onc to advance its portfolio of blood cancer and solid tumor immunotherapies targeting myeloid checkpoints with a focus on the LILRB family. Immune-Onc has raised more than $110 million from investors since the company began operations in 2016. In August 2020, the company announced it had been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support clinical development of IO-202.
“We are enthusiastic about Immune-Onc’s novel approach to cancer immunotherapy targeting myeloid checkpoints and their leading portfolio of first-in-class assets,” said Dave Chenn, CEO and managing partner of Oceanpine Capital. “We have full confidence in the company’s highly experienced management team and are excited to be at the forefront of this new area of research and development through our investment in Immune-Onc supporting their next phase of growth.”
Immune-Onc’s research and development programs focus on targeting the Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor subfamily B (LILRB) of myeloid checkpoints to overcome immune resistance of cancer. The company has invested in proprietary models, assays and tools to interrogate the biology and translate this cutting-edge research into the development of novel therapies.
Immune-Onc’s lead program IO-202, a first-in-class antibody targeting LILRB4 (also known as ILT3), is being developed to treat blood cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), and solid tumors. In hematologic malignancies, preclinical studies showed that IO-202 converts a “don’t kill me” to a “kill me” signal by activating T cell killing and converts a “don’t find me” to a “find me” signal by inhibiting infiltration of hematologic cancer cells.
In September 2020, Immune-Onc initiated a Phase I trial evaluating IO-202 in AML with monocytic differentiation and in CMML. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted IO-202 Orphan Drug Designation status for treatment of AML in October 2020. The company is also evaluating IO-202 in solid tumors and will present preclinical data for the first time on April 10, 2021 at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting (#AACR21).
Immune-Onc has active preclinical programs targeting other members of the LILRB family including IO-108, a novel antagonist antibody targeting LILRB2 (also known as ILT4) which is currently in the IND-enabling stage. The company presented preclinical data supporting IO-108 for the treatment of solid tumors at The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting and plans to submit an investigational new drug application in mid-2021. Other preclinical assets include IO-106, a first-in-class anti-LAIR1 antibody, and multiple undisclosed programs for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Therapy Acceleration Program® (TAP)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer. The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS TAP is a strategic initiative that builds business alliances and collaborations with biotechnology companies and academic researchers to identify potential breakthrough therapies with the ability to change the standard of care. LLS TAP funds late-stage pre-clinical studies, and proof of concept or registrational clinical trials to help advance therapeutics along the drug development and approval pathway. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org/therapy-acceleration-program. Follow LLS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
ABOUT IMMUNE-ONC THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”) is a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel myeloid checkpoint inhibitors for cancer patients. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Immune-Onc has assembled a diverse team with deep expertise in drug development and proven track records of success at leading biotechnology companies.
The company aims to translate unique scientific insights in myeloid cell biology and immune inhibitory receptors to discover and develop first-in-class biotherapeutics that disarm immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment. Immune-Onc has a promising pipeline with a current focus on targeting the Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor subfamily B (LILRB) of myeloid checkpoints. The company has strategic research collaborations with The University of Texas, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and has invested in proprietary models, assays and tools to interrogate the biology and translate this cutting-edge research into the development of novel therapies. For more information, please visit www.immune-onc.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.