Cell Medica raised £60 million ($74 million) in a Series C round of financing to support development of its cell-based immunotherapy platforms and pipeline, including lead mid-stage oncology candidate baltaleucel-T (CMD-003). The autologous T-cell therapy is being evaluated in the Phase II CITADEL study and the CIVIC trial as a treatment for advanced lymphomas associated with Epstein Barr virus (EBV).
Participants in the Series C round of financing include existing investor Touchstone Innovations and funds managed by Invesco Perpetual and Woodford Investment Management. “With the strong support of our key shareholders, Cell Medica will implement the next phase of our development program, bringing a new generation of cell-based immunotherapy products into Phase II clinical trials, as well as completing our Phase II program for baltaleucel-T,” stated Gregg Sando, CEO at London, U.K.-based Cell Medica. “This funding enables us to continue our efforts to unlock the full potential of cellular immunotherapy for the benefit of cancer patients.”
Cell Medica is exploiting its activated cytotoxic T-cell technology and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and engineered T-cell receptor (TCR) platforms to develop a pipeline of cell-based immunotherapies for applications in cancer therapy and immune reconstitution in patients who have undergone an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant..
Lead anticancer candidate baltaleucel-T was granted fast-track designation by the FDA in February for treating relapsed/refractory lymphoma and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease associated with oncogenic EBV. Baltaleucel-T had previously been granted orphan drug designation in the EU for the indication of extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type and post-transplant proliferative disease.
In November 2016, Cell Medica expanded an ongoing partnership with Baylor College of Medicine to include the development of off-the-shelf allogeneic cell immunotherapies against multiple cancers, based on CAR-modified natural killer T (NKT) cells from healthy donors. Cell Medica and Baylor first teamed up to develop cellular immunotherapies against cancer in June 2016. Cell Medica took over Swiss antibody therapeutics firm Delenex Therapeutics in July 2016 to acquire the latter's technology platform for use in developing CAR-modified cell therapies. Cell Medica also has an ongoing partnership with University College London (UCL) focused on developing an approach for increasing the number of cancer-detecting TCRs expressed on human T cells.