Geneva, Switzerland, September 05, 2017 / B3C newswire / --AMAL Therapeutics (AMAL), the Swiss biotech developing novel, peptide-based therapeutic cancer vaccines, today announces that it has completed the first tranche of its Series B financing round, raising €8 million (CHF 8.8 million).
The Company will use the funds to progress its lead vaccine (ATP128) towards clinical studies and proof-of-concept in colorectal cancer. It will also further develop its proprietary therapeutic tumour vaccination technology platform called KISIMA.
Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), BioMedPartners and Helsinn Investment Fund are cornerstone investors, with VI Partners, High-Tech Gründerfonds and Schroder Adveq also participating.
AMAL is Schroder Adveq's first investment in Life Sciences in Switzerland. It is also Helsinn's first ever investment in Switzerland.
AMAL's KISIMA technology demonstrated potent and multi-antigenic long lasting anti-tumour immunity and prevented tumour immune escape in pre-clinical models. This promising preclinical efficacy is achieved through the combination of a Cell Penetrating Peptide (CPP) with a multi-antigenic chimeric cargo and a toll-like receptor agonist in one recombinant protein.
Dr Hanna Kleczkowska from Helsinn Investment Fund and Dr Andreas Wallnöfer from BioMedPartners become members of AMAL's Supervisory Board. Dr Erwin Boos from Schroder Adveq joins the Board as Board Observer.
Dr Madiha Derouazi, CEO and founder of AMAL Therapeutics said: "The potential of our KISIMA technology platform and value of our scientific assets has been validated by this Series B investment by prestigious investors. We are now in a position to progress our lead vaccine, ATP128, for colorectal cancer into the clinic and continue to develop our pipeline in other cancer indications."
Dr Knut Elbers, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund representative on AMAL's Board added: "We believe that AMAL's KISIMA technology could revolutionise the peptide-based cancer vaccine field - bringing an innovative new technology to the patient, this is why we invested as seed investor in the company. We believe AMAL is an innovator in the field of immunotherapies and we look forward to working with Madiha and the team to help the Company grow."
Dr. Andreas Wallnöfer, BioMedPartners representative on AMAL's Board stated: "AMAL Therapeutics next generation vaccines have the potential to convert and combat tumours that have so far not been accessible to the immune system. The technology could also enhance the efficacy of immuno-oncology therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors and unravel the full potential of therapeutic cancer vaccines for patients in need. This is an enormous motivation for us to engage."
Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, commented: "AMAL Therapeutics is a highly innovative company with great leadership, and its novel KISIMA cancer vaccine technology platform that targets and kills tumorous cells has the potential to bring significant benefit to people with cancer. AMAL is exactly the type of Company that Helsinn Investment Fund looks to support and we look forward to working with them to help support their clinical progress."
About AMAL Therapeutics SA
AMAL Therapeutics SA is a privately held Swiss biotech start-up company, having spun-out from the University of Geneva. AMAL Therapeutics was incorporated in September 2012. AMAL uses KISIMA, its proprietary vaccine technology platform to develop and progress therapeutic vaccines in oncology.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
The Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) was formed in March 2010 to invest in biotechnology and start-up companies to help drive innovation in medical science. The investment focus include - but is not limited to immunomodulation, esp. immuno-oncology, tissue regeneration, new therapeutic modalities, e.g. gene therapy, cell-based therapeutics, ADC, and microbiome. These reflects BIVF's interest in platform technologies and the extension of the current therapeutic area focus of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and demonstrate BIVF's commitment to investigate new treatment modalities and technologies, beyond BI's existing landscape, for the potential future benefit of patients. BIVF takes an active role with its portfolio companies - delivering significant added value through its own extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial expertise. The BIVF has €200 million under management and supervises currently a portfolio of 20 active companies and 3 fund-in-fund investments.
Based in Basel, BioMedPartners is a leading, independent European venture capital firm that acts frequently as lead- or co-lead investor providing private equity to early- to mid-stage life sciences companies. Since 2003, BioMedPartners has invested in several highly innovative companies, of which 17 have already either successfully been acquired by leading biopharma companies or have completed an IPO.
With more than CHF 320 million in capital under management and a strong team of experienced industry experts as well as an extensive scientific network, BioMedPartners has established itself as one of the leading early-stage human healthcare investors in Europe. In February 2017 the company announced the first closing of BioMedInvest III, their third equity venture capital fund with a target size of CHF 120-150 million and a final closing in Q1 2018.
About the Helsinn Group and the Helsinn Investment Fund
Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland and the U.S., a representative office in China as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.
In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions, to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.
About Schroder Adveq
Founded in 1997, Schroder Adveq is a leading asset manager investing in private equity globally and following completion of the acquisition is a wholly owned subsidiary of Schroders plc. It offers specialised investment solutions which allow the firm's clients to access select private market segments through primary, secondary and direct/co-investments. Schroder Adveq's client base comprises institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, family offices and other financial institutions located in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Many investors of Schroder Adveq are repeat, long-term clients with whom the firm has developed a role as a trusted partner for private market investing.
Schroder Adveq has offices in Zurich, Frankfurt, London, Jersey, New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
About VI Partners
VI Partners is a leading Swiss venture capital firm that invests in university spin-offs as well as in promising companies in the healthcare and ICT sectors. Over the last decade, more than 30 successful investments were made in Switzerland and surrounding regions to develop promising technology-based ideas for products and services into successful businesses. VI Partners team combines seasoned investment professionals and a worldwide recognized network of experts from the industry, financial and consulting sectors.
About High-Tech Gruenderfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss.
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