A2 BIOTHERAPEUTICS CLOSES $71.5M SERIES B TO BEGIN CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ITS POTENTIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE SELECTIVE TUMOR CELL THERAPEUTICS
AGOURA HILLS, Calif., October 6, 2020 -- A2 Biotherapeutics (www.a2bio.com), a biotechnology company developing innovative cell therapies for solid tumor cancer patients, today announced the closing of its $71.5M Series B financing. Proceeds will fund the advancement of its Tmod (T-cell module) platform and the clinical development and in-house manufacturing of its three near-term product candidates. Tmod-engineered T cells uniquely combine a potent activating mechanism to kill tumor cells with a blocking mechanism that protects normal cells from harm by exploiting the loss of genetic material in tumors. “We are the first company to create robust engineered T cells that can integrate two signals in this way, harnessing the awesome power of immune cells to attack tumors that have lost specific genes, while sparing normal cells whose genomes are intact,“ said Scott Foraker, president and chief executive officer of A2.
The Tmod design and proof-of-concept work was published last Friday in Molecular Immunology (Hamburger et al., 2020). This paper describes the Tmod dual-targeting system and demonstrates its abilities to recognize and selectively kill tumor cells that have lost expression of defined target molecules.
Tmod provides a practical solution to two major problems of cancer research: distinguishing tumor vs. normal cells and accessing new cancer targets. A2 plans to use Tmod to exploit the large, untapped source of targets that are lost in tumors by genetic deletion, thereby opening up new cancer targets that were previously unaddressable and making existing targets safer and more effective. The Tmod platform can produce many products using different activator/blocker combinations. By enabling these combinations, the Tmod platform has the potential to treat nearly all solid tumor cancers, the cause of approximately a half-million deaths/year in the U.S. alone.
A2 has an experienced team of former Amgen and Kite Pharma drug and cell therapy developers to fulfill the vast potential of these therapies. Alexander Kamb, co-founder and chief scientific officer of A2, said: “We have first-rate discovery scientists who can deliver on pioneering cancer programs and technology, as well as experienced development and manufacturing staff who enable us to innovate on both sides of the cell-therapy product—the Tmod target/receptor system and the T cells.”
A2 Biotherapeutics, established in 2018, is a fully integrated discovery, development and manufacturing organization with more than 40 staff located in Agoura Hills, California. The company has raised $136M since inception. The company plans to use the Series B funds to support operations, including: 1) development of three near-term product candidates, the first of which is slated to begin clinical testing in 2022; 2) extension of the Tmod platform to produce additional product candidates; and, 3) operation of A2’s completed, in-house cell-therapy manufacturing facility.
Investors in the Series B include The Column Group, Vida Ventures, Samsara BioCapital, Nextech Invest, Casdin Capital, Euclidean Capital, UC Investments (Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents) and Hartford HealthCare Endowment.
About A2 Biotherapeutics
A2 Biotherapeutics is using its next-generation cell therapy Tmod platform to revolutionize the treatment of solid tumor cancers. The company engineers T cells that target the loss of genetic material in tumors, enabling the selective killing of tumor cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
For more information, visit www.a2bio.com.