Immuno-oncology, Venture Capital

Celgene, Google double down on Armo’s PhIII immuno-oncology drug with $67M round

Peter Van Vlasselaer

Armo BioSciences has lined up a big $67 million C round to pay for the late-stage development of some of its immuno-oncology assets.

Launched and built with the help of some marquee investors like Celgene, Kleiner Perkins, GV (Google) and OrbiMed, Armo has now attracted some major league Chinese VCs to its pipeline work. Qiming Venture Partners led the round with help from new investors Decheng Capital, Sequoia Capital, Quan Capital and RTW Investments. All the original backers came back in for the C round.

Armo, based in Redwood City, CA, has been working on new therapies that prime cancer cells for an immune assault. And it’s following up on its lead program with PD-1 and LAG-3 checkpoint therapies of their own, part of a major second wave of checkpoints that is now building behind the lead therapies to hit the market.

Armo posted Phase Ib data at ASCO and is now in a Phase III pivotal study for pancreatic cancer with AM0010, with a Phase II/III set to launch for non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell cancer.

The last time I spoke with execs at the biotech in early 2016, they were considering the possibilities of an IPO, but remained wary of market conditions. Now they’ll have late-stage data to offer investors if they do pivot to an initial offering.

“In this ever-changing field of immuno-oncology, the combination of AM0010 with standard-of-care chemotherapy or with checkpoint inhibitors may offer novel and competitive treatment options to patients with several types of difficult-to-treat advanced solid tumors,” said Armo CEO Peter Van Vlasselaer. “AM0010’s therapeutic potential, observed in our extensive phase 1/1b study with more than 350 advanced cancer patients, garnered strong support from our existing and several new investors. This was an over-subscribed financing that allows us to further develop ARMO’s pipeline of immuno-oncology agents and to continue our mission to make a lasting change in the lives of cancer patients.”



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