NousCom raises €42 million to develop off-the-shelf cancer vaccine6 Nov 2017
Financing to advance its pipeline of neoantigen cancer-based immunotherapies to the clinic.
NousCom, an oncology company developing neoantigen based cancer vaccines based on its Exovax platform, has completed a €42 million Series B financing. The round involved a syndicate of leading transatlantic life sciences investors led by new investor Abingworth with participation from 5AM Ventures, also a new investor, and existing investors LSP and Versant Ventures.
NousCom will use the proceeds to further advance its lead program NOUS-209, an off-the-shelf cancer vaccine, into Phase I/II clinical studies in 2018. The company is planning to develop NOUS-209 as a prophylactic vaccine to prevent the occurrence of cancer in Lynch Syndrome Carriers (a genetically defined patient population with a higher risk of developing colorectal endometrial, and gastric cancers), and as a therapeutic vaccine for cancers characterized by Microsatellite Instability (tumours containing abnormalities affecting DNA repair). NOUS-209 has the potential to be the first neoantigen off-the-shelf cancer vaccine tested in the clinic.
The company will also further the development of NOUS-100-PV, a personalized neoantigen-based vaccine, which is expected to enter clinical studies in the second half of 2018. NousCom’s third program is an oncolytic virus specifically targeted to tumour cells. This program, which is based on a second platform Endovax, is in the discovery phase.
NousCom’s Exovax platform consists of viral vector-based genetic vaccines encoding cancer neoantigens using proprietary prime/boost technology. Prophylactic vaccines, similar to the ones used by NousCom, have shown to induce potent, durable and high-quality CD8 and CD4 immunological responses in clinical trials against infectious diseases. NousCom’s viral vectors have the ability to encode large numbers of neoantigens – an essential feature for induction of an effective immune response in cancer patients. In addition, the company has access to a scalable GMP manufacturing facility, which will support its clinical development and future ability to deliver personalized cancer vaccines to patients.
Dr Alfredo Nicosia, CEO of NousCom, said: “This financing, by experienced life sciences investors, represents an important validation of our platform and development strategy. We are delighted to welcome new investors Abingworth and 5AM and would like to thank our existing investors, LSP and Versant Venture. This investment will enable us to leverage our best in class Exovax platform to accelerate clinical development of our programs.”
Dr Genghis Lloyd-Harris, a partner of Abingworth, said: "We are excited to work with the team at NousCom to develop its platform which has already demonstrated very promising immunological and efficacy results in preclinical studies. Because of its ability to induce potent CD8 T cell responses, in addition to CD4, and deliver large amount of immunogenic information, we believe it holds strong promise in the clinic.”
In conjunction with the financing, Dr Genghis Lloyd-Harris of Abingworth and Dr Scott Rocklage of 5AM will join NousCom’s board of directors alongside existing board Chairman Dr Guido Magni from Versant Ventures, and board members Dr.Joachim Rothe from LSP, Dr Jean-Paul Prieels and Dr. Alfredo Nicosia.
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