Startups, BioPharma

Report: Sean Parker and Peter Thiel back cancer immunotherapy startup 3T Biosciences

Thiel and Parker were part of a more than $12 million funding round for the stealth immunotherapy business,

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One year after setting up a $250 million institute devoted to cancer immunotherapy, Sean Parker has backed 3T Biosciences alongside fellow billionaire investor Peter Thiel. Both were part of a $12 million + funding round for the stealth immunotherapy business, according to a CNBC report. It is one of several biopharma companies taking an innovative approach to cancer treatment.

Asset Management Ventures’ principal Luke Lee is heading up 3T, according to CNBC. Christopher Garcia, who runs a biology lab at Stanford University, is among a group of academics working with the stealth startup.

The Parker Institute spans six centers with more than 63 labs and numerous researchers and industry and nonprofit partners. The Institute also pools and shares its resources.

There are 240 cancer immunotherapies under development, according to the trade group PhRMA.

Novartis secured FDA approval for its Chimeric Antigen Receptor-engineered T-cell therapy for relapsed and refractory (r/r) B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia this year, but many companies see opportunities and investor interest in advancing their own immunotherapy treatments.

Last month, RepImmune raised $55 million in a Series B round for immunotherapy targeting multiple solid tumor types. Its treatment, RP1, is intended to activate innate and adaptive immune responses. Another biotech, Gritstone Oncology, which is developing neoantigen-targeted immunotherapies for lung and gastric cancer, raised more than $92 million also in a Series B round. It is expected to start clinical trials next year. RepImmune is using the funding for proof-of-concept studies.

Merck inked a $200 million licensing agreement with Moderna Therapeutics last year. The goal is to identify unique mutations in a given cancer, as a first step for cancer vaccine development for a specific immune response.

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