SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Indapta Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company developing an NK (natural killer) cell therapy platform for the treatment of blood and solid tumor cancers, today announced it has appointed Mark W. Frohlich, M.D., chief executive officer and raised over $50 million in Series A financing and commitments co-led by RA Capital Management, LP, Vertex Ventures HC and Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG. The Myeloma Investment Fund, the venture philanthropy subsidiary of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Lonza also participated in the round. In connection with the financing, Laura Stoppel, Ph.D., principal at RA Capital Management, LP, Lori Hu, managing director at Vertex Ventures HC, and Fabio Pucci, Ph.D., senior director of venture investments health at Leaps by Bayer, joined Indapta’s board of directors.
Dr. Frohlich, who also joined the board of directors, succeeds founding chief executive officer and co-founder Guy DiPierro, who has taken on the position of chief strategy officer.
The company will use the proceeds of the financing to grow the team and continue to advance its universal, allogeneic NK cell platform toward an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) and clinical trials. The company’s platform involves the isolation and expansion of a subset of NK cells known as G-NK cells, which have increased potency relative to conventional NK cells. Because the G-NK cells have very active antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, they have the potential to provide substantial clinical benefit to patients when used in combination with monoclonal antibodies. Indapta’s G-NK cells are isolated from healthy donors and do not require genetic engineering, so they can serve as an off-the-shelf treatment that can overcome the cost and inconsistency of autologous T-cell therapies.
Dr. Frohlich has more than 25 years of experience developing cellular immunotherapies to treat cancer. He previously served as executive vice president of portfolio strategy at Juno Therapeutics, which developed the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy Breyanzi® for large B-cell lymphoma, until the company was sold to Celgene, now part of Bristol Myers Squibb. Before Juno, Dr. Frohlich was chief medical officer and executive vice president at Dendreon Corporation, a pioneer in the development of cellular immunotherapy. At Dendreon, he led the clinical team responsible for the development and U.S. and European regulatory approval of PROVENGE®, one of the first commercially available cancer immunotherapies.
“Mark is perfectly suited to lead Indapta as we move our unique G-NK cell therapy closer to clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma and lymphoma,” said Ronald Martell, co-founder and chairman of the board. “His biopharma management pedigree, successful drug development track record and scientific acumen, together with our Series A financing from such an experienced syndicate of investors, will accelerate our ability to bring this innovative therapy to patients. We look forward to Guy’s continued contributions as he transitions to the role of chief strategy officer.”
Before joining Dendreon, Dr. Frohlich served as vice president and medical director at Xcyte Therapies, where he led the clinical development program for an autologous activated T-cell therapy to treat cancer. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant adjunct professor of hematology/oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he specialized in urologic oncology and conducted laboratory, translational and clinical research. Dr. Frohlich earned a B.S. in electrical engineering and economics from Yale College and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. At UCSF, he served as chief resident in medicine and completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology and a Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellowship. Dr. Frohlich has served as a strategic advisor to several early-stage immuno-oncology and cell therapy companies and currently serves on the boards of NEUVOGEN and Bioeclipse Therapies.
“I joined Indapta because I believe its NK cell platform is truly differentiated and its preclinical data is particularly compelling. I’m excited to bring this off-the-shelf cell therapy to the clinic, where we have the potential to demonstrate it can benefit patients without the toxicities associated with currently approved cell therapies,” said Dr. Frohlich. “I look forward to applying everything I’ve learned over the past two decades to develop this novel therapy.”
SVB Leerink acted as Indapta’s exclusive financial advisor for the Series A financing.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.
About Indapta’s G-NK Cell Therapy
Indapta Therapeutics is developing a universal, allogeneic G-NK cell therapy designed to substantially improve the cytotoxicity of monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy in multiple cancers. G-NK cells are a specific and potent subset of NK (natural killer) cells with specialized anti-tumor activity resulting from an epigenetic change rather than engineering. Indapta has further enhanced G-NK cells via specific G-NK cell subset selection and its proprietary manufacturing process, which, when combined, produce a G-NK cell therapy that demonstrates higher efficacy, persistence and enhanced cryopreservation.
When a mAb binds to the tumor target and Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy, it initiates the release of dramatically more cancer-killing compounds than conventional NK cells, allowing for increased efficacy and potentially less frequent dosing. Indapta’s off-the-shelf G-NK cell therapy is further differentiated from other NK cell therapies in that it is a cell banked product with low variability. In vivo studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy.
Indapta is partnering with Lonza, a world-leading cell therapy manufacturer, to manufacture G-NK cells for use in clinical trials. Indapta will leverage Lonza’s process development capabilities and expertise to ensure robust, reproducible and scalable clinical good manufacturing processes (cGMP).
About Indapta Therapeutics
Indapta Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing a proprietary allogeneic cell therapy to treat multiple types of hematologic cancers and solid tumors. The company has developed allogeneic FcεRIγ-deficient natural killer cells, known as G-NK cells, and is working to bring this off-the-shelf cell therapy to patients to address the limitations of currently available autologous T-cell therapies. Indapta was founded in 2017 based on a discovery by Sungjin Kim, Ph.D., at UC Davis. Indapta’s scientific founders are Dr. Kim and John Sunwoo, M.D., at Stanford University. For more information, please visit www.indapta.com.