Cell Medica Rakes In $78 Million Series B To Advance Cancer Program

Published: Nov 25, 2014

Cell Medica Rakes In $78 Million Series B To Advance Cancer Program

November 25, 2014

By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Editor

Cellular immunotherapy company Cell Medica said Tuesday that it has closed a £50 million Series B investment round with participation from Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual and Woodford Investment Management.

The British firm said it will roll that investment capital back into the development of cellular immunotherapy products focusing on treating cancer and infectious diseases. Its flagship oncology product, CMD-003, currently undergoing a CITADEL Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of patients with advanced lymphomas associated with the Epstein Barr virus.

Executives at the company lauded the financing, saying the research area they specialize in is ripe for innovation, particularly because CMD-003 offers the potential for a targeted approach to cancer treatment with very limited side effects or toxicities because it is made of a patient’s own immune cells.

“Immunotherapy is one of the most exciting and fast-moving areas in cancer research right now, and Cell Medica is at the forefront of developing a new paradigm for the safe and effective treatment of patients with advanced lymphomas,” said Gregg Sando, Cell Medica’s chief executive officer, in a statement. The Series B financing will enable the Company to launch and complete the CITADEL Phase II clinical trial as an important step towards regulatory approval both in the US and Europe.”

Cell Medica is also involved in a separate CITADEL Phase II clinical trial exploring the therapeutic benefit of immunotherapy for the treatment of advanced NK/T cell lymphoma. This trial was funded in part by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and could eventually help the firm branch out in its research on cancer applications associated with the oncogenic Epstein Barr virus including lymphoma, leukemia and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Cell Medica also targets some infectious diseases and is developing Cytovir CMV, funded in part by The Wellcome Trust, for the treatment of cytomegalovirus infections and Cytovir ADV for the treatment of adenovirus infections. Both are for patients who are profoundly immunosuppressed following a bone marrow transplant.

“Having been an investor at its formative stage, we are delighted with the progress Cell Medica has made in developing cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of cancer,” said Maina Bhaman, Imperial Innovations director of healthcare ventures, in a statement. “We are seeing a new generation of drug development aimed at activating the immune system against cancer and the company is well-positioned with products which can be used in both monotherapy and combination regimens.”

Imperial invests in pioneering technologies developed from the academic research within the ‘Golden Triangle’ broadly bounded by London, Cambridge and Oxford, which is home to the U.K.’s four leading research-intensive universities.

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