Fortis Therapeutics is an immuno-oncology biotech developing a novel antibody-drug conjugate for late-stage multiple myeloma and metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Fortis was founded based on technology exclusively licensed from UCSF and developed in the laboratory of Bin Liu, Ph.D. Fortis is located in COI Pharmaceuticals, Avalon’s Community of Innovation, in San Diego.
The MIF has partnered with San Diego, CA based Cullinan MICA (formerly PDI Therapeutics, Inc.), joining fellow investors Cullinan Oncology, Avalon Ventures, and Bregua Corporation in this Series A round raising $26M. Cullinan MICA focuses on antibody inhibitors targeted to specific protein disulfide isomerases that will ‘unmask’ tumor cells, activating patient immune systems so that they will seek out and eliminate the cancerous cells. Using data from the landmark MMRF CoMMpass Study, the MMRF found evidence to support this novel approach. Thanks to this collaboration and our resulting investment, Cullinan MICA plans to include multiple myeloma patients in its upcoming Phase 1 clinical trial.
“We look forward to building on the efforts [of our colleagues at PDI] to advance this novel, first-in-class immunotherapeutic agent into the clinic, and to leverage the many strengths of the MMRF to make an immediate and meaningful impact on patients’ lives.”
- Dr. Jon Wigginton, Cullinan Chief Medical Officer
The MMRF investment in NexImmune will help support the initial clinical development of NEXI-002, which is one of the company’s lead product candidates, and to help further develop the Company’s Artificial Immune Modulatory (AIM) technology platform.
NexImmune is advancing immunotherapy products based on the Company’s proprietary Artificial Immune Modulatory (AIM) nanotechnology platform. The AIM technology enables simultaneous enrichment, expansion and priming of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells directed against multiple tumor-associated antigen (TAA) targets across a broad range of both solid and hematologic malignancies.
NEX-I002 is designed to generate cytotoxic T cells directed against multiple tumor antigens associated with MM. The Company has completed pre-IND discussions with the FDA and has entered Phase I/II clinical trial at the end of 2019.
“We chose to partner with NexImmune because of the potential for this technology to benefit highly refractory patients who have limited treatment options and significant unmet need.”
- Paul Giusti, MMRF President & CEO
Abcuro’s mission is to develop a new generation of immunomodulatory therapeutics for treating both autoimmunity and cancer. The company uses proprietary analysis of transcriptome data from human disease to identify new approaches to target key compartments of the immune system. Abcuro was launched in 2016 and is based in Newton, Massachusetts.
The MIF’s investment in Abcuro supports its ongoing development of preclinical therapies directed against a novel immune checkpoint target, KLRG1. Blocking KLRG1 signaling may augment the immune system’s ability to combat tumors by activating Natural Killer (NK) and T cells, which represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
Indapta Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing a proprietary, first-in-class, off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy to treat multiple types of difficult-to-treat hematologic cancers and solid tumors. Headquartered in San Francisco, Indapta was founded in 2017 by Guy DiPierro along with Ronald Martell and scientists at the University of California, Davis, and Stanford University. The company has developed allogeneic FcRIγ-deficient natural killer cells, known as G-NK cells, and is working to bring this off-the-shelf cell therapy to patients to address the limitations of currently available autologous T-cell therapies.
“This collaboration with the MMRF and MIF will be invaluable in helping us advance the clinical development of our universal, allogeneic G-NK cell therapy.”
- Guy DiPierro, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Indapta Therapeutics.
The MMRF first invested in Tidal Therapeutics in July 2019, and recently re-invested additional capital in January 2020.
Tidal has proprietary technology to modify T-cells directly in the patient’s blood, targeting myeloma and B-cell malignancies. This approach is like CAR T-cell reprogramming found in drugs like KYMRIAH™ and YESCARTA®, but it does not require the removal and reinfusion of a patient’s cells. With this technology, Tidal is working to develop novel CAR T therapies suited for multiple myeloma treatment.
“MMRF’s capabilities and expertise around myeloma and the MIF investment will help to ensure Tidal is able to succeed in bringing our technology into the clinic.”
- Ulrik Nielson, Tidal President & CEO