– New investors Samsara, Lightspeed, Gimv, and Mission BioCapital further strengthen investor base and expand transatlantic footprint
– Company establishes U.S. subsidiary to accelerate international operations
ImmunOs Therapeutics AG, a biopharmaceutical company leveraging its HLA-based technology platform to develop first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, today announced the closing of an oversubscribed Series B financing round totaling $74 million. The round was led by new investors Samsara BioCapital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Gimv, and joined by new investors Mission BioCapital, GL Capital, PEAK6 Strategic Capital, and Fiscus Financial, as well as existing investors Pfizer Ventures, BioMed Partners, and Schroder Adveq. Read more…
– Jan Egberts, M.D., Ir. Jan van der Hoeven and Daan van den Noort, M.D. join newly established Supervisory Board
Lead Pharma, a pharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that it has appointed Dr. Jan Egberts, Ir. Jan van der Hoeven and Daan van den Noort to its newly established Supervisory Board.
Jan Egberts, M.D., has over 25 years of executive experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Agendia Inc., a molecular diagnostics company. Prior to this, Dr. Egberts was Chief Executive Officer of OctoPlus N.V., a specialty pharmaceutical company, which was acquired by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. in 2013. He also served as a Senior Healthcare Advisor for 3i Group plc and as President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NovaDel Pharmaceuticals Inc. In addition, he held multiple business development and general management positions at Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Mölnlycke Health Care. Dr. Egberts, who graduated from Erasmus University Medical School in the Netherlands and obtained his MBA from Stanford, also serves on the Supervisory Board of several other private and public healthcare companies.
Ir. Jan van der Hoeven brings more than 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. In 1983, he was co-founder of the CRO NOTOX, which he also headed until it was acquired by WIL Research Laboratories in 2006. In addition, since 1988 he has advised numerous life sciences companies, e.g. as a member of the Supervisory Board. He is also an ambassador of Wageningen University (Wageningen, The Netherlands). Before founding NOTOX, he worked as a scientist at Wageningen University for six years with emphasis on the relation of food and cancer. He (co-)authored over 30 scientific publications and has been awarded the EEMS Young Scientist Award in 1985. In 2003, he received the price for entrepreneurship from Wageningen University. Ir. van der Hoeven graduated from Wageningen University.
Daan van den Noort, M.D., brings over 25 years of experience as a manager and venture capitalist in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in Europe. Among others, he served as General Manager for Genentech, Asta Medica, and Ferring in The Netherlands. From 2001 to 2011, he acted as the Chief investment Officer of the Biotech Turnaround Fund. He serves on several international boards of investment companies active in the biopharmaceutical industry. Mr. van den Noort holds an MD degree from the Free University of Amsterdam.
Company News: Three Peer-Reviewed Papers by ISA Pharmaceuticals Introduce Strategies to Improve Immunotherapy Against Cancer
– Local Delivery of Checkpoint Control Antibodies Greatly Improve Efficacy and Safety
– Promising Potential for Combinatorial Strategies
ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focusing on rationally designed therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, today announced the publication of three peer-reviewed papers that demonstrate the benefit of local delivery of a checkpoint control antibody targeting CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4) for the successful eradication of cancer and the reduction of side effects. The papers include a review that underlines the importance of strategies for combinatorial treatments to improve further the immunotherapy of cancer. ISA Pharmaceuticals is developing cancer immunotherapies along those lines, in particular its Synthetic Long Peptide (SLP®) vaccine ISA101 for the treatment of HPV-induced diseases, such as cervical cancer and head and neck cancer, and ISA203 for the treatment of various tumors including lung cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer and melanoma.
In a paper just published in Clinical Cancer Research , a team of scientists from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and ISA Pharmaceuticals report that in preclinical mouse models of cancer, the injection of a CTLA-4 blocking antibody in a slow-release formulation close to the tumor is very effective in activating a systemic anti-tumor (CD8+) T cell response. CTLA-4 is a crucial immune checkpoint protein that down-regulates the body’s immune response. The low-dose local treatment (50μg subcutaneously in a slow-release vehicle) eradicates tumors, including distant tumors, as effectively as a high-dose systemic treatment (2×200μg intraperitoneally). The method also leads to a 1000-fold decrease of antibody levels in the serum, thereby reducing adverse events and the risk of autoimmunity.
These findings are supported by an increasing number of studies demonstrating that local targets, mainly present in the microenvironment of tumors and draining lymph nodes, are key players in tumor progression. As published in a second paper by researchers from LUMC and ISA, a review in the International Journal of Cancer , local immunotherapies have clear advantages over systemic treatments, both in their ability to shift tumor-promoting mechanisms towards effective tumor-eradicating immunity and in terms of reducing the risks of systemic administration.
In the third publication in Seminars in Immunology , current cancer immunotherapy approaches are reviewed, concluding that most standalone immunotherapeutic strategies either fail to affect progressive diseases and survival significantly – or only do so in a minority of patients. The authors support combinations of synthetic vaccines that stimulate tumor-specific T cell responses and adjuvants, immune-modulating antibodies, cytokines, or chemotherapy.
 Fransen MF et al. (2103), Clin Cancer Res, Published Online First June 20, 2013; doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0781
 Fransen MF et al. (2013), Int. J. Cancer, 132: 1971–1976; doi: 10.1002/ijc.27755
 Arens R et al., (2013), Sem Immunol, Published Online First May 21, 2013;
Company News: Prof. Cornelis Melief to Present Novel AMPLIVANT™ Platform at AACR Annual Meeting 2013
ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rationally designed therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, today announced that Prof. Cornelis Melief, M.D., will present details on the novel AMPLIVANTTM platform at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. AMPLIVANTTM is based on a powerful, proprietary toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand improving immunotherapies.
Presentation title: “Synthetic vaccine for immunotherapy of high risk HPV infections“
Symposium: SY27 “New Cancer Vaccines“
Abstract number: SY27-01
Date: April 9, 2013, at 10:40 a.m.
Location: Room 202 at the Washington Convention Center.
The abstract is available at the AACR website www.aacr.org.