ImmunGene, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing antibody-cytokine fusion technology therapies to treat cancer, today announced it has secured $9 million in a milestone-based Series A financing from Ally Bridge Group. Previous investments in the Company were converted into Series A preferred stock. ImmunGene will use the capital to advance its early-stage development products to IND-enabling studies.
"ImmunGene, run by a team of excellent scientists from Amgen, Baxter, Genentech and Seattle Genetics, breaks new ground in the empowered antibody therapeutics space. Through antibody-interferon fusion, ImmunGene's technology triggers additional mechanisms of action (MOAs) in killing tumors. With this unique platform technology, ImmunGene has a well-diversified portfolio of therapeutic candidates, which enables multiple shots on goal," said Frank Yu, Founder and CEO of Ally Bridge Group. "Ally Bridge Group is well-prepared to make additional investments in ImmunGene and is committed to assisting the Company in its strategic development going forward."
In conjunction with the financing, ImmunGene added two new members to its board of directors: Frank Yu and Mike Gresser, PhD. Mr. Yu is Founder and CEO of Ally Bridge Group, a global healthcare-focused investment group with bases in Hong Kong and the United States, and Themes Investment Partners, a China-focused private equity fund. Under Mr. Yu's leadership, Ally Bridge and Themes have invested in multiple life sciences companies in China and the U.S. Prior to Ally Bridge and Themes, he was Managing Director and Head of China Investments at Och-Ziff Capital Management, a leading global hedge fund. Previously, Mr. Yu was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs where he played an instrumental role in a series of landmark financing and merger and acquisition transactions. Dr. Gresser, a member of ImmunGene's scientific advisory board, has more than 25 years experience in industry, including 12 years at the Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research and eight years at Amgen as Vice President and Head of Inflammation and Neuroscience Research Therapeutic Areas. Presently he is a visiting scholar at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA and Chief Scientific Officer of Myelin Repair Foundation, a non-profit organization.
ImmunGene also recently received several patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) and International Patent organizations. Two of the patents (US 8,258,263 and US 8,563,692) cover the antibody-interferon fusion technology that helps target interferon to the tumor cells and overcomes interferon-related dose-limiting toxicity. A third patent (US 8,497,354) covers a novel fully human monoclonal antibody that targets a variety of human tumors.
"We are very excited about this financing, which will allow us to continue to advance our early-stage pipeline drug candidates. We are also very pleased with the issuance of the new patents from the USPTO, because it strengthens our intellectual property position around our novel antibody-fusion proteins," said Sanjay D. Khare, PhD, President and CEO of ImmunGene. "ImmunGene continues to push toward our target of an IND filing and initiation of a phase I clinical trial for IGN002, our lead product candidate in the joint venture with Valor Biotherapeutics, in the next 12 to 18 months."
Earlier this year, Valor Biotherapeutics, a joint venture between ImmunGene and Caliber Biotherapeutics, announced a partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to advance its lead drug candidate IGN002 to human proof-of-concept studies. The IGN002 molecule uses ImmunGene's proprietary antibody-interferon fusion technology to target CD20-positive non-Hodgkin lymphomas. This technology has been designed to overcome interferon-associated dose limiting toxicity, while maximizing its targeted anti-tumor effects.