Originally published in Scrip.
SWEDEN-BASED ANOCCA AB WILL USE A just completed $47m Series B financing to advance its industrialised cellular biology platform and pipeline of TCR-T cellular therapies into Phase I/IIa oncology clinical trials, its CEO tells Scrip.
Developing next-generation T-cell immunotherapies using proprietary technology and in-house manufacturing is how privately owned Anocca AB will use a $47m Series B financing that brought the Swedish biotech’s cash mound to more than $100m, its CEO and co-founder Reagan Jarvis told Scrip.
Since its founding eight years ago, Anocca has generated a preclinical pipeline of engineered T-cell receptor therapies for use against multiple antigen classes, including targets that are shared amongst tumours, against specific genetic mutations that drive cancer, and against viruses that cause cancer.
Like CAR-T cell therapy, engineered T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy involves treating cancer with activated T lymphocytes from the body. Both strategies attach new receptors to the cells’ surfaces, enabling them to attack different forms of cancer.
“Our TCR assets pipelines address a range of HLA restrictions, expanding the reach of TCR-modified T-cell therapies to many more patients. Anocca is also deploying our technology to systematically isolate TCRs for neoantigens identified from tumours on an entirely individualised basis,” Jarvis said in an interview.
The series B financing was completed 22 July and netted SEK400m. It will be used to advance the company’s industrialised cellular biology platform and progress its pipeline of TCR-T cellular therapies into Phase I/IIa oncology clinical trials by the end of 2022. Anocca is based in Södertälje, Sweden.
“These will be relatively modest sized trials, as they usually are for cell therapies. But we’ll be aiming to bring in multiple assets into that design. Whether that’s on a single protocol and multiple protocols, that doesn’t really matter as that’s just different paperwork. The point is that you can match patients to assets, based on target expressions,” Jarvis said.
The biotech’s technology platform is composed of various proprietary cell biology and molecular genetics technologies that enables the scalable high-precision analysis needed to develop highly targeted therapeutics that leverage T-cell immunity. The platform is underpinned by proprietary, fully integrated, information management and bioinformatic software tools developed in-house.
“This series B takes us to well over $100m raised since our founding in 2014 and represents a further strong endorsement of our approach to industrialised high-precision analysis of T-cell biology, which can be applied to any therapy area and which can reach an unprecedented number of intracellular and extracellular druggable targets in liquid and solid tumours, as well as other therapeutic areas, such as infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders,” Jarvis said.
The financing was led by advisor Danske Bank and included new investors such as Swedbank Robur Ny Teknik, Ramsbury Invest, as well as existing investors Mellby Gård, Nidoco and Anocca co-founder Mikael Blomqvist.
By Sten Stovall.