BioPharma, Startups

Immune-Onc raises $33M in Series B funding round for immunotherapy pipeline

The money will fund its preclinical immuno-oncology programs. It also hired Achaogen exec Adrian Jubb as chief medical officer and Genentech’s An Song as SVP of development sciences.

A company with several oncology immunotherapy programs in preclinical development has closed a Series B financing round raised mostly from China-focused investors.

Immune-Onc, based in Palo Alto, California, said Tuesday that it raised more than $33 million in financing from Northern Light Venture Capital, Vivo Capital and the Stanford-StartX Fund. Northern Light and Vivo focus many of their investment activities on Chinese firms, with Vivo in particular being concentrated on life sciences. The company plans to use the funding to develop its pipeline programs.

The firm announced in September 2016 the closing of a $7 million Series A funding round, in which major investors included Fame Mount Limited and CLI Ventures. CLI, which has offices in Palo Alto and New York, has invested in companies like gene-editing firm CRISPR Therapeutics and diagnostics firm Guardant Health, which filed earlier this month to go public.

The company also appointed Genentech executive An Song as senior vice president of development sciences, and Achaogen executive Adrian Jubb as chief medical officer.

According to its website, Immune-Onc’s pipeline includes a compound called IO-202, which the company is preparing to enter into clinical trials, along with two undisclosed programs. IO-202 and one of the undisclosed programs are being developed for acute myeloid leukemia and other hematological malignancies, along with solid tumors. The other undisclosed program is being developed for solid tumors. The firm describes IO-202 as an antibody targeting an immune inhibitory receptor, while describing its programs generally as “moving beyond T-cell targeted therapies” as the company develops “biotherapeutics that navigate and disarm immune suppression and tumor infiltration.” However, it does not appear to provide specifics about its drug candidates’ targets.

Last year, the company in-licensed research from four different academic institutions. In March 2017, it acquired global licensing rights to immune-modulating therapeutics from two centers in New York, namely the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. And in April 2017, it acquired global rights to programs from two members of The University of Texas system, The UT Health Science Center in Houston and UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

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