Compass Therapeutics Closes on Series A Financing Totaling $132 Million


Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Compass Therapeutics closed on the final $49 million of its $132 million Series A financing. The round was led by OrbiMed Advisors and included F-Prime Capital, Cowen Healthcare Investments, Thiel Capital, Biomatics Capital, Ulysses Holdings, Borealis Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and Biomed Realty Ventures.

Compass Therapeutics focuses on identifying antibody drug candidates, with an initial focus on T cells, NK cells and macrophages. It has antibody discovery and bispecific engineering platforms, including StitchMabs, its proprietary high-throughput bispecific screening platform that allows for rapid identification of synergistic bispecific activity.

The company’s lead product is CTX-471, which is currently in late IND-enabling studies. Compass plans to take the compound into the clinic in the first half of 2019. The company states, “It has been tested across multiple in vitro and in vivo models and has consistently shown potent and durable curative activity as a single agent, in combination with other immune-modulatory agents and with tumor-targeting therapies. In addition, in stringent high tumor burden therapeutic models, CTX-471 has led to complete tumor rejections and the generation of long-term, protective immunological memory.”

The funds raised will be used to push CTX-471 into the clinic as well as to identify two more clinical candidates by the end of this year. They hope to take the second and third compounds into the clinic by early 2020.

Carl Gordon, a member of Compass’ board and managing partner at OrbiMed, said in a statement, “In the three years since the initial Series A closing, Compass has built a portfolio of antibody discovery, bispecific engineering and functional characterization platforms which has consistently delivered novel and differentiated antibody drug candidates. Compass is positioned to become a leader in the fields of immuno-oncology, inflammation and autoimmune disease.”

The company is apparently considering launching an initial public offering sometime next year, and will make a decision by the end of this year. The company currently has 70 people. Tom Schuetz, the company’s chief executive officer, told the Boston Business Journal that Compass has spent the last couple years in “head-down execution mode.”

In a few short years, it has developed an engineering platform that decreases antibody development time by about half. “The whole thing,” Schuetz told the Boston Business Journal, “start-to-finish, takes less than six months. That timeframe is usually one-to-two years in the rest of the industry.”

Regarding the possible IPO, Schuetz said, “We have not really settled on what is the correct timing for an IPO. But, we’re actively investigating that now. More likely than not, we would have an IPO in 2019.”

Also, in 2019, Compass expects to hire a chief medical officer and 10 to 15 new clinical researchers.

Piotr Brobowicz, Compass’ chief scientific officer, said in a statement, “With every target we pursue, we are pushing the boundaries of its epitopic diversity. We then create multiple formats of antibody-based multispecific drugs to empirically test various therapeutic hypotheses. Our unique StitchMabs technology allows us to screen or bispecific synergies in a high-throughput manner, and the output from our discovery platforms is compatible with highly modular bispecific engineering strategies.”

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