Nectin Therapeutics is a biotechnology company aiming to transform the lives of cancer patients by leveraging its unique insights into the nectin pathway to develop the next generation of immune oncology (IO) therapies. The company’s differentiated therapies have the potential to achieve new standards for efficacy and patient response across a number of difficult-to-treat cancers.
KAHR develops novel dual-targeting fusion protein therapeutics engineered to activate both the innate and the adaptive immune systems simultaneously and localize that response in the tumor microenvironment. KAHR’s lead product candidate, DSP107, is a CD47x41BB targeting compound. DSP107 is being tested in a Phase I/II clinical trial in advanced solid tumors and a Phase Ib clinical trial in blood cancers. KAHR’s preclinical pipeline includes DSP502, a PVRxPD-L1 targeting fusion protein, and DSP216, an HLA-GxCD47 targeting fusion protein.
Luminary is a clinical-stage allogeneic cell therapy company focused on combining advanced receptor design with superior cell engineering to overcome antigen escape and T cell dysfunction. Luminary was founded by the team from B-MoGen, which was acquired by Bio-Techne in 2019.
Telo Therapeutics is developing orally bioavailable next generation inhibitors of nuclear transport, a critical nexus among many cancer cell signaling pathways. The company’s unique chemistry and distinct mechanism of action result in a favorable safety profile and lead to rapid tumor regressions across animal models of multiple cancer types. Telo has generated durable complete responses with just two weeks of dosing in xenografts of both multiple myeloma and glioblastoma.
Triumvira Immunologics is a clinical-stage company developing non-gene edited, first-in-class targeted autologous and allogeneic T cell therapeutics that co-opt the natural biology of T cells to treat patients with solid tumors. The company’s proprietary T cell Antigen Coupler (TAC) technology is a versatile platform that activates natural T cell functions differently from cell therapies such as CAR-T and engineered T cell receptor (TCR) therapies. The lead program, TAC01-HER2, is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial for patients with HER2-overexpressing solid tumors (TACTIC-2), including breast, gastric, ovarian, pancreatic, gall bladder and non-small cell lung cancers.
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.
For more information, please visit www.avalonbioventures.com
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
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.
CytoImmune is a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company focused on the
development and commercialization of novel NK cell therapies that can be infused into patients to eliminate cancer cells. The firm is currently developing proprietary Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-engineered NK cells (CAR-NK™), which represent an off-the-shelf cell therapy designed to destroy tumor cells by recognizing specific proteins or antigens that are present on the tumor surface.
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
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