£19.5M raised to drive development of best-in-class fully human VH antibody fragment therapeutics
Crescendo Biologics Limited (Crescendo) today announces it has raised a further £2m ($3.3m), from EMBL Ventures, in a final close of its Series A financing. Originally announced in December 2013, the Series A now totals £19.5m. It was led by Imperial Innovations and included new investor Astellas Venture Management (AVM). Founding seed investor Sofinnova Partners also contributed significantly to the round.
The funding is being used to advance Crescendo's in-house development programmes in inflammation and oncology utilising its best-in-class VH fragment discovery platform centred on the Crescendo Mouse.
Mike Romanos, CEO of Crescendo, said, "We are delighted to announce that EMBL Ventures is joining the round. This is further recognition of the quality of our science and the potential of our antibody fragment technology to deliver new, high-value therapeutics to our own pipeline and to strategic partners."
Peter Pack, Partner of EMBL Ventures, said, "Crescendo has established a pre-eminent position in antibody fragment technology through a unique combination of features including in vivo maturation, diversity of the immune response, unprecedented expression yields,and a plug&play modularity based on fully human Ig sequences. With its first programmes advancing towards the clinic, the Company is in an extremely strong position to benefit from its ability to generate highly differentiated therapeutics."
Transgenic mice have had a major impact in monoclonal antibodies, where they have delivered the majority of recent product approvals. The Crescendo Mouse now achieves the same benefits for VH antibody fragments that is fully human sequence with excellent potency and druggability.
VH domains are the smallest, most robust antibody fragments and as such have advantages for tissue and tumour penetration, engineering of multivalent products, topical delivery and simple manufacture. They are also the most extensively validated fragment in the clinic. The unique Crescendo Mouse harnesses the benefits of in vivo maturation, which naturally optimises affinity and biophysical properties, to generate human VH with superior properties for drug development. Critical to this is the use of the Company's proprietary triple knockout mouse background which eliminates all mouse antibody light chain contamination.
Crescendo is establishing an internal pipeline including a transformational topical biologic for psoriasis and multivalent products for oncology indications. These programmes draw on the power of Crescendo's VH platform to produce novel, high-value product candidates to address areas of significant medical need.