A BioTech which effectively forces cancer cells to reveal themselves to patients’ immune system has raised £15.2 million Series B investment.
Cambridge firm NeoPhore targets the DNA mismatch repair pathway.
The round was led by Claris Ventures and included 2Invest, 3B Future Health Fund and Astellas Venture Management alongside founding investor the CRT Pioneer Fund.
NeoPhore will work closely with its scientific founder Dr Alberto Bardelli from the University of Turin where the original scientific discovery originated and Dr Luis Diaz to exploit the concept that inhibition of MMR in tumours generates neoantigens that the patients’ own immune system can target with a powerful anti-tumour response.
The financing will be used to advance NeoPhore’s drug discovery pipeline.
“This financing validates NeoPhore’s novel and highly differentiated approach. Our programmes comprise novel first-in-class inhibitors and modulators that target the MMR pathway,” said CEO Dr Matthew Baker.
“These drugs are designed to work in concert with existing immunotherapies to stimulate immunity directly at cancer’s core, effectively forcing cancer cells to reveal themselves to the patients’ immune system.
“We anticipate a huge patient benefit in the level and durability of anti-cancer responses in a wide range of indications.”
Chairman Dr Robert James said: “The recent emergence of novel immunotherapy treatments highlights that the patients’ immune system can both detect and fight cancer.
“However, long-lived and effective cancer immunity relies strongly on the presence of cancer neoantigens. NeoPhore is discovering drugs that create neoantigens and this financing will enable NeoPhore to cement its leading position in MMR drug discovery.”
Pietro Puglisi, Managing Partner at Claris Ventures, said: “We have been impressed by the excellent work achieved by the NeoPhore team and we are excited to be part of such an experienced and engaged investor syndicate.
“We see tremendous potential to generate first-in-class next-generation immuno-oncology therapeutics to improve clinical outcomes for solid tumour cancer patients.”
In conjunction with the Series B financing, Pietro Puglisi from Claris Ventures, Heikki Lanckriet from 2Invest and Marianne Bjordal from 3B Future Health Fund, will join the board of NeoPhore as directors.