Celularity teams up with Australian biotech to develop CAR T-cell therapy; Former Kinnate CEO Stephen Kaldor reels in $50M for new biotech
Imugene and Celularity have announced a partnership to develop a solid tumor treatment, the two companies announced Wednesday.
The collaboration will explore the use of Imugene’s CF33-CD19, an oncolytic virus, and Celularity’s CAR T-cell therapy CD19. Studies of in vitro and in vivo models will start this year.
Celularity’s CD19 has shown T cell growth while killing tumor cells in vivo, and scientists believe that when combined with CF33-CD19, the therapy could improve outcomes for patients with solid tumors.
“We believe the synergy between Celularity’s placental derived cells and our OnCARlytic platform has the potential to shift the cellular medicine paradigm,” Imugene CEO Leslie Chong said. “In preclinical studies Celularity’s cellular therapies have shown the ability to overcome limitations that have hindered other approaches, including increased proliferation and persistence in vivo, resistance to T-cell exhaustion and low immunogenicity, which allows for repeated dosing. These unique characteristics perfectly align with our vision for a combination treatment strategy, and we look forward to closely working together to bring this treatment strategy to the clinic and patients in need.”
Imugene licensed CD19 from Los Angeles-based cancer treatment center City of Hope. —Josh Sullivan
Former Kinnate CEO Stephen Kaldor reels in $50M for new biotech
Three years after Stephen Kaldor co-founded Kinnate Biopharma, the company hit Wall Street with a $276 million IPO. Now, Kaldor is looking to recreate that success at XinThera, a small San Diego-based biotech that just nabbed a modest $50 million to support its recruiting efforts.
The Series B round brings XinThera’s total raise to $80 million, the company said on Wednesday. Co-founder and CSO Qing Dong says the team is working on a small molecule oncology and immunology pipeline, though he didn’t offer much more detail than that in the news release.
“Steve Kaldor has assembled an exceptional group of drug developers with an ambitious vision to build a global organization working across multiple therapeutic areas,” said Carl Gordon, general partner at Orbimed, which participated in the round. Existing investors Foresite Capital and TTM Capital also chipped in.
Kaldor and Dong are joined by a third co-founder Gene Hung, who previously helped launch the biotech FronThera. — Nicole DeFeudis
China’s Berry Oncology piles on the capital with another $100m round
China-based genomics testing provider Berry Oncology on Thursday announced another round of financing, this time for about $100 million, to help boost an expansion in early cancer screening.
The firm, which is a member company of Barry Genomics, performs genetic testing of cancers in more than 600 hospitals across China. Back in 2017, Barry Oncology raised a little more than $120 million to fund its early cancer diagnosis R&D work.
Now, Berry Oncology has three centers — manufacturing, supercomputing, and R&D centers — located in Fuzhou and Beijing. This latest round of financing was led by China Merchants Capital Management Co., Ltd. — Zachary Brennan