The London company behind a platform for developing novel immunotherapies and vaccines has raised £16 million in a Series B round.
Korea Investment Partners led the new investment into Prokarium, with the UK government’s Future Fund, Flerie Invest and Riyadh Valley Company also participating.
Hyam Levitsky, president of R&D at Century Therapeutics, will join Prokarium’s board of directors.
“We are very pleased with this strong financial support and with the global networks our investors bring,” said Ted Fjallman, CEO of Prokarium.
“The funds will support the development efforts of our microbial immunotherapy for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, which we plan to advance to the clinic by 2022, as well as the expansion of our pipeline across multiple solid tumours.
“This financing, together with our recently announced partnership with the Wellcome Trust for funding our clinical studies of Entervax, positions Prokarium well to realise the potential of our microbial immunotherapy platform.”
Sangwoo Lee, MD at KIP, said: “KIP is delighted to lead this financing of Prokarium and to continue to invest in their team and platform.
“Prokarium’s approach of developing microbial immunotherapy that stimulates innate immunity and modulates the tumour microenvironment is very exciting and has the potential to transform cancer treatment across the world.”
Levitsky brings more than 30 years of internal medicine, oncology and immunology research experience to the firm.
Prior to Century, he served as the executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Juno Therapeutics and head of cancer immunology experimental medicine at Roche.
“Prokarium’s bacterial strains have the potential to be potent activators of multiple innate immune pathways, harnessing intrinsic microbial properties combined with modulatory effects from cutting-edge engineering to initiate and drive a patient’s anti-tumour responses,” he said.
“This harbours the potential to perform both as a monotherapy or in combination with other immunotherapies.”
Prokarium also strengthens its executive team with the promotion of Kristen Albright to COO, Livija Deban to vice president of research and the appointment of Peter McGowan as CFO.
“I am very pleased to announce these well-deserved appointments on Prokarium’s executive team,” said chairman Steve Chatfield.
“It is critical that we have the optimal organisational structure in place to drive the continued advancement of our pipeline and the success of our company.”