Chinese CAR-T player books a megaround to drive bustling cell therapy portfolio through the clinic
China has quickly emerged as a major driver of oncology R&D in recent years, particularly in cell therapies where the potential for cheaper development has investors drooling. Now, one player, with a handful of early data, is swimming in a new round of investor cash.
IASO Bio has closed a $108 million Series C that the Chinese and California-based biotech said it will use to advance its slate of cell therapy lead programs, while also propping up a roster of next-gen allogeneic cell therapies for the future, according to a release.
The round was led by CDH Baifu, and followed by CCB International, with participation from Everbright Limited, Co-Stone Capital, CNCB Capital and Plaisance Capital with current shareholder GL Ventures also jumping on board.
The newest funding comes just months after IASO and its partner Innovent revealed Phase I data from its BCMA CAR-T candidate IBI326 — now known as CT103A — which posted a 97.1% response rate in 35 patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. In those patients treated with one of three doses of IBI326, 29 (or 82.9%) achieved a very good partial response or greater, and 20 (57.1%) saw a complete response or stringent complete response. Of 34 patients evaluable for minimal residual disease (MRD), all achieved MRD negativity, according to the companies.
The analysis includes eight patients with extramedullary multiple myeloma (EMM), and 10 patients who had previously received a murine BCMA CAR-T treatment, all of whom saw a response, Innovent and IASO reported. Among the 10 patients who had taken a murine BCMA CAR-T treatment, eight achieved a very good partial response or better, one saw a partial response and another reached stable disease.
IASO also sports a novel CD19/CD22 CAR-T, which is currently in human trials in China, and a CD5 CAR-T, which is currently in preclinical development.
In a statement, CEO Wen Wang touted the strength of his company’s pipeline in a statement and laid out the game plan moving ahead:
The clinical development of these three innovative products marks the full coverage of our products in plasma cell, B cell, and T cell malignancies. Moreover, we are advancing the clinical development of our core candidate CT103A in frontline therapy, combination regimens, indication expansion, and overseas development. We still have two INDs to file in the second half of this year. The proceeds raised will enable us to advance our innovative pipeline and consolidate our strategic positioning and advantages in immuno-oncology and autoimmune diseases.