Seeking a place among giants in the oncolytic virus field, little Cold Genesys bags $22M Series C
A small biotech out of California has refueled with $22 million for the next leg of its quest in oncolytic immunotherapies, a hot field that’s grabbed the attention of major pharma players keen to find the winning combo tech in the I/O 2.0 race.
Cold Genesys and its investors for the Series C are pretty much putting all their eggs in the CG0070 basket. The company bought the drug, which had already gone through Phase I, from BioSante Pharmaceuticals back when it first got started in 2010, with $95,000 upfront and a 20% stock ownership. Fast forward nine years, CG0070 has been tested in more than 100 bladder cancer patients in a Phase II as a monotherapy, and is lined up for combination trials with Merck’s Keytruda as well as other checkpoint modulators.
A modified adenovirus type 5, CG0070 works like a standard oncolytic virus: designed to infect cancer cells, killing them, which subsequently signals the immune system to mount an attack on the survivors.
It’s an approach that promises to incite an immune responses in patients whose tumors don’t respond to checkpoints, enticing Boehringer Ingelhelm, J&J and Merck to each execute their own (relatively inexpensive) buyout deals for some early-stage assets.
For Cold Genesys, the hope is that it will become “a platform company to benefit patients with various types of solid tumors,” said Simone Song on behalf of ORI Fund, which led the current round with participation from Perseverance Capital Management.
The small executive team at Cold Genesys is led by CEO Arthur Kuan, a former private equity investor who earlier helped start prominent Chinese investment firm Ally Bridge Group.