IGM Biosciences banks a $103M megaround on its quest to pioneer a new kind of cancer-fighting antibody
A low-profile biotech out to shake up how the industry imagines antibody therapeutics is attracting some eyeballs today with a $103 million megaround.
IGM Biosciences is still shying away from the limelight, only divulging in a three-paragraph statement that its lead program, a CD20xCD3 bispecific, is expected to enter the clinic later this year for relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The Series C features new investors like Redmile Group, Janus Henderson Investors, Vivo Capital and another “large US-based, healthcare-focused fund.” Old backers at Haldor Topsøe Holding have also chipped in, doubling down on an investment that dated back to 2010.
IGM’s pitch is predicated on a platform that engineers the IgM class of antibodies, rather than the conventional IgG. It’s a technology sophisticated and mature enough to entice Dan Chen, who left Roche/Genentech last August to become the company’s CMO.
Chen — who helped pioneer the rising checkpoint star Tecentriq at the pharma giant — described IgMs as “sort of like Velcro,” capable of making multiple weak domains into one strong bond. IgG, in comparison, comprise of only two binding units.
The resulting strong and durable binding to cancer cells can induce a more potent killing of cancer cells utilizing T cells and cytokines, and engages a complement dependent cytotoxicity mechanism independent from an immune response, according to the company.
That also means these antibodies are harder to make, but IGM has figured out the manufacturing problems, Chen said in a previous interview with Endpoints News, giving him high hopes on the longterm future.
Now Chen — alongside CEO Fred Schwarzer and IGM’s 40-plus staffers — have a lot more money to help realize that future.