OncoResponse wraps Series A with $22.5M; Plotting IPO, BerGenBio partners with Merck on cancer combos

→ The immuno-oncology antibody discovery company OncoResponse, created by MD Anderson and Theraclone Sciences, just completed a long-running Series A with $22.5 million. The biotech has been piecing this together for awhile now. Most recently insiders and HT Family Office contributed to the round, following Baxalta (now Shire), GreatPoint Ventures, the Helsinn Investment Fund, Arch Venture Partners, Canaan Partners, and MD Anderson, with William Marsh Rice University and Alexandria Real Estate Equities also participating. “With the final closing of our Series A, we look ahead to the continued development of our research programs that aim to expand the promise of immuno-oncology by identifying therapeutically relevant antibodies from patients with elite response to cancer immunotherapy in a number of oncology indications,” said CEO Clifford Stocks.

→ Norway’s BerGenBio has struck a deal to collaborate with Merck on a couple of mid-stage studies combining their Axl kinase inhibitors with Keytruda, the big checkpoint drug. They’re going after non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. The biotech also announced plans this week to launch on IPO on the Oslo exchange.

→ TG Therapeutics $TGTX didn’t waste much time in following up on its much touted data from its Phase III leukemia study to raise $50 million in a new stock offering. TG engineered an early readout on the study by modifying the trial design, as its noted on a number of occasions. And as the company also indicated in its list of warnings on risk on the offering, the change violated its special protocol assessment at the FDA, which could raise problems later on.

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