Immatics biotechnologies raised €53.8 million (about $68.5 million) in a Series C financing round with existing and new investors. The firm said the funds will be used to push on with clinical development of its therapeutic cancer vaccine pipeline, including the start later this year of a Phase III pivotal renal cancer trial with lead product IMA901.
Germany-based Immatics is exploiting its Xpresident™ discovery platform to identify tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) derived from antigens that are overexpressed on tumor cells. The firm’s technology is designed to identify TUMAPs from primary human tumor samples, and validate those peptides in terms of their ability to induce an anticancer immune response. Immatics claims it can develop a product candidate, from the collection of the first tumor samples to the delivery of a multipeptide drug into the clinic, within 24 months or less.
IMA901 comprises 10 TUMAPs that Immatics claims are frequently found to be overexpressed in patients suffering from renal cell carcinoma. Its second lead candidate, IMA910, is in development for the treatment of colorectal carcinoma and is expected to complete a large-scale Phase I/II trial during 2011. A third lead product, IMA950, is expected to start in a Phase I study in brain cancer patients during the second half of 2010.
Immatics is developing both class I and class II TUMAPs. Class I molecules are short peptides of 8-12 amino acids in length, which activate cytotoxic T cells to directly kill the cancer cells. Class II TUMAPS are long peptides of more than 15 amino acids, which are intended to activate T helper cells.