AMAL Therapeutics SA , a Swiss biotech developing peptide-based therapeutic cancer vaccines, announces that it has completed the second closing of its Series B financing round. The second and final tranche of €21.2 million (CHF 24.2 million) brings the total round to just over €29 million (CHF 33.2 million).
AMAL received follow-on funding from the same syndicate of investors that committed €8 million at the first close in September 2017.
The Company will use the funds to progress its lead vaccine (ATP128) toward clinical development and proof-of-concept in colorectal cancer, a leading cause of mortality and a significant market opportunity (€9.6 billion by 2025). The clinical trial is expected to start in summer 2019.
In addition, AMAL will further develop its proprietary technology KISIMA®, a unique self-adjuvanting protein-based immunisation platform capable of producing single therapeutic vaccines for immunotherapy and beyond.
KISIMA® enables the assembly of the following patented fusion proteins into one single vaccine: firstly, a proprietary cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery, secondly, a proprietary TLR- peptide agonist as adjuvant, and thirdly, a modulable multi-antigenic cargo that can be tailored for various indications.
The platform is highly versatile and can potentially be used to produce synthetic polypeptides for neoantigens or to provide modified antigen delivery. Alternatively, using a long peptide as cargo, the platform can carry a larger antigen portion containing multiple CD8 and CD4 epitopes for various HLA restrictions.
Dr Madiha Derouazi, CEO and founder of AMAL Therapeutics, said: “We are extremely proud of the unwavering support that AMAL has received from its investors over the past few years. Closing our Series B financing round at €29 million will allow us to build our clinical trial programme on solid foundations and shows the high regard our KISIMA® technology is held in by the market.”
Dr Frank Kalkbrenner, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund’s representative on AMAL’s Board, added: “Financing AMAL since its early inception and following the company’s progress since then, we are very impressed by the delivery capacity of its team. We are delighted to reaffirm our support for AMAL at such an important time for the Company and to finance the-first-in man trial of its drug candidate. We believe that ATP128 has the potential to be a game-changing drug in the immunotherapy field.”
Mr Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, commented: “AMAL is a great example of what the Helsinn Investment Fund was set up to support: dynamic healthcare businesses bringing the best of scientific innovation to patients. We’re delighted to have been able to participate in this funding round and believe that the funds raised will help AMAL bring its ATP128 vaccine towards proof of concept. We look forward to working closely with AMAL on further clinical developments.”
Dr Andreas Wallnöfer, BioMed Partners representative on AMAL’s Board, said: “AMAL‘s technology is innovative and promising, with compelling preclinical data. The planned clinical study has the potential to facilitate the translation of science into great benefit for patients. KISIMA® provides hope that cancer vaccines will become an important therapeutic option in combination with other immuno-modulating cancer agents.”
Dr Diego Braguglia, VI Parners representative, commented: “AMAL’s innovative immunisation platform holds great promise to overcome limitations faced by the current approach of existing cancer vaccines. Moreover, KISIMA® is aimed to set the first cornerstone in tailored cancer therapy. We look forward to increasing our collaboration with AMAL’s experienced team to advance what we believe will become a unique pioneering approach.”
About AMAL Therapeutics SA
AMAL Therapeutics SA (AMAL) is a pre-clinical stage Swiss biotechnology company developing peptide/protein-based therapeutic vaccines with a focus on oncology. The Company’s therapeutic vaccines are based on its versatile proprietary technology platform called KISIMA®.
AMAL’s lead programme, ATP128 is a therapeutic protein vaccine for metastatic colorectal cancer, a leading cause of mortality. The programme is expected to enter phase I clinical trials in 2019. In the longer term, the Company intends to develop a portfolio of programmes in other cancer indications.
The private Company is headquartered on the medical Campus of the University of Geneva, from which it was spun-out in 2012 and backed by a syndicate of both corporate and institutional investors. AMAL’s technology platform and derived products are protected by a broad portfolio of patents and licenses.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
The Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) was formed in March 2010 to invest in biotechnology and start-up companies to help drive innovation in medical science. The investment focus includes – but is not limited to immunomodulation, esp. immuno-oncology, tissue regeneration, new therapeutic modalities, e.g. gene therapy, cell-based therapeutics, ADC, and microbiome. These reflects BIVF’s interest in platform technologies and the extension of the current therapeutic area focus of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and demonstrate BIVF’s commitment to investigate new treatment modalities and technologies, beyond BI’s existing landscape, for the potential future benefit of patients. BIVF takes an active role with its portfolio companies – delivering significant added value through its own extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial expertise. The BIVF has €200 million under management and supervises currently a portfolio of 20 active companies and 3 fund-in-fund investments.
About Biomed Partners
Based in Basel, BioMed Partners is a leading, independent European venture capital firm, that acts frequently as lead- or co-lead investor providing private equity to early- to mid-stage life sciences companies. Since 2003, BioMedPartners has invested in several highly innovative companies, of which 17 have already either successfully been acquired by leading biopharma companies or have completed an IPO. With more than CHF 350 million in capital under management and a strong team of experienced industry experts as well as an extensive scientific network, BioMed Partners has established itself as one of the leading early-stage human healthcare investors in Europe. In February 2017, the company announced the first closing of BioMedInvest III, their third equity venture capital fund with a target size of CHF 120-150 million and a final closing in Q1 2018.
About the Helsinn Group and the Helsinn Investment Fund
Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.
In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions, to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.
About VI Partners
VI Partners is a leading Swiss venture capital firm that invests in university spin-offs as well as in promising companies in the healthcare and ICT sectors. Over the last decade, more than 30 successful investments were made in Switzerland and surrounding regions to develop promising technology-based ideas for products and services into successful businesses. VI Partners team combines seasoned investment professionals and a worldwide recognized network of experts from the industry, financial and consulting sectors.
About Schroder Adveq
Founded in 1997, Schroder Adveq is a leading asset manager investing in private equity globally and following completion of the acquisition is a wholly owned subsidiary of Schroders plc. It offers specialised investment solutions which allow the firm’s clients to access select private market segments through primary, secondary and direct/coinvestments. Schroder Adveq’s client base comprises institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, family offices and other financial institutions located in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Many investors of Schroder Adveq are repeat, long-term clients with whom the firm has developed a role as a trusted partner for private market investing. Schroder Adveq has offices in Zurich, Frankfurt, London, Jersey, New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
About High-Tech Gruenderfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start- ups. With EUR 892,5 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million in HTGF I, EUR 304 million in HTGF II and EUR 316,5 million for HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge 500 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemicals and life sciences.
This group also includes a number of success stories, such as Mister Spex, Rigontec, 6Wunderkin- der, Next Kraftwerke and Cumulocity, as well as Juniqe, an online shop for art enthusiasts. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.8 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,300 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 90 companies.