Abalos Therapeutics has harnessed the unique immune stimulation of the arenavirus to develop a novel anti-cancer approach that provides the full breadth of the immune system’s power specifically against cancer cells. Through viral replication within cancer cells, Abalos’ arenavirus-based drug candidates are designed to awake precise immune responses and activate all relevant immune cell types against primary tumors and metastases. Led by experienced biotech entrepreneurs and immunology pioneers, Abalos’ goal is to achieve a quantum leap in immuno-oncology.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Sebastian Kreuz
Actym Therapeutics is an immunotherapy company that aims to discover and develop attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium strains as a systemic delivery agent to allow for local expression of multiple therapeutic proteins selectively in the tumor microenvironment for the treatment of solid tumor indication(s). Actym's technology platform is designed to harness the body's natural immune system to modify the tumor microenvironment and allows for targeting immune pathways that are intractable using conventional small molecule or antibody-based therapeutics.
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Kanad Das
Asgard Therapeutics AB focusses on the development of groundbreaking cancer immunotherapies based on gene therapy-mediated reprogramming of somatic cells, such as cancer cells and fibroblasts. Incorporated as a spin-off from Lund University (Sweden) in 2018, the Company is pioneering direct immune cell reprogramming with its proprietary TrojanDC technology. This is a gene therapy that directly targets somatic cells and converts their cellular identity into that of fully functional type-1 conventional dendritic cells. In case of cancer cells this induces the efficient presentation of their own (neo-)antigens to the immune system, thereby eliciting potent anti-cancer immune responses. Designed as an off-the-shelf gene therapy, Asgard´s approach overcomes many of the logistic and manufacturing hurdles of conventional cell-based therapies.
Year of investment: 2021; BIVF Board Representative: Philipp Müller
eTheRNA immunotherapies NV is a spin-off from the Brussels university 'Vrije Universiteit Brussel' (VUB), Belgium. The company continues the development of its proprietary TriMix mRNA-based immunotherapies for melanoma, breast cancer and infectious diseases. This mRNA-based technology focuses on enhancing and modulating dendritic cells which fulfill a fundamental role in eliciting the human immune response to cancer and infectious diseases.
Year of investment: 2016; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
Imcheck Therapeutics SAS, founded in 2015, is a spin-off from the Institute Paoli Calmettes in Marseilles (France). Developing innovative antibody therapeutics in the field of immuno-oncology, Imcheck Therapeutics translates the pioneering work of Prof. Daniel Olive focussing on novel checkpoint principles directly in the interplay of the innate and adaptive immune response. The team of highly motivated entrepreneurs builds on the break-through developments around PD-1, as well as CTLA-4 specific antibodies to release evasion of tumor cells from immune surveillance. Imcheck Therapeutics will focus on a proprietory group of targets to integrate the power of γδ-T cells (innate) with the of αβ-T cells (adaptive) to significantly improve the response and clinical outcome of modern immunotherapy approaches for hematological and as well as for solid tumor indications.
Year of investment: 2015; BIVF Board Representative: Philipp Müller
OncoMyx Therapeutics is developing oncolytic immunotherapies based on the myxoma virus (MYXV) platform to orchestrate an immune response and treat cancer. Successful immuno-oncology (IO) cancer treatment generally requires combination therapy, and oncolytic viruses (OVs) have emerged as a safe and effective IO complement.
Their MYXV platform, spun-out from Arizona State University (ASU), is poised to be a best-in-class OV approach. They have assembled the top OV team around MYXV to advance a pipeline of oncology therapeutics for the benefit of cancer patients.
Year of investment: 2019, BIVF Board Representative: Kanad Das
T3 Pharmaceuticals was founded in May 2015 by Simon Ittig, Christoph Kasper, Marlise Amstutz and Helmut Kessmann as a spin-off of the University of Basel. The team has developed an efficient protein delivery technology that is based on the use of live bacteria. While the technology has diverse applications in research, T3 Pharma has further developed the system to serve as a novel therapeutic to treat solid tumors.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
T-knife GmbH is a spin-off of the Max-Delbrück-Center (MDC) founded in 2015 by Prof. Thomas Blankenstein. Derived from T-knife’s proprietary Humanized TCR Mice, the Berlin-based Biotech company develops T cell receptors (TCR) for adoptive T cell therapy. The Humanized TCR mice carry the entire human TCRαβ gene loci and recombine a broad repertoire of fully human TCRs. In addition, the transgenic expression of human HLA molecules allows ‘human-like’ presentation of antigens via the transgenic HLA to the fully human TCRs. This technology allows highly efficient generation and selection of TCRs for virtually any human tumor antigen. Since the mouse immune system is not tolerant to most human cancer antigens the obtained TCRs are expected to show optimal affinity for cancer therapy. The company has a broad expertise in tumor target selection, TCR sequence isolation and optimization, transgenic TCR expression and characterization. A clinical phase I trial with T-knife´s TCR lead candidate targeting MAGE-A1 for patients with multiple myeloma will start recruiting in 2019 in cooperation with Charité. T-knife is based in Berlin, Germany.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner (until 2021)
QUANTRO will combine and exploit innovative technologies in the areas of functional-genetics and transcriptomics to generate an unprecedented cancer drug discovery pipeline transforming the precision and scope of cell-based compound screens.
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Sebastian Kreuz
Rgenta is developing a pipeline of oral, small-molecule RNA-targeting medicines with an initial focus on oncology and neurological disorders. The company’s proprietary platform mines the massive genomics data to identify targetable RNA processing events and design small-molecule glues to modulate the interactions among the spliceosome, regulatory proteins, and RNAs. Rgenta’s lead programs and unique approach are unlocking the therapeutic potential of historically undruggable targets in human diseases.
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Fei Shen
Founded in 2019, Tacalyx GmbH is a spin-off out of the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany. The Department of Biomolecular Systems led by Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger pioneered the chemical synthesis of ultrapure cancer-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACA) for the generation of high-affinity and selective antibody scaffolds. Tacalyx will profile the antibody panels for functional modulation of tumor cells and/or immune cells in the tumor micro-environment. Antibodies with functional modulating, as well as drug like properties will be developed for towards clinical testing in various solid tumor indications.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Alexander Ehlgen
TigaTx is unleashing the tumor killing power of neutrophils using its first-in-class, engineered IgA monoclonal antibody platform. Neutrophils are increasingly being recognized as key players in cancer, yet there are no immuno-oncology drugs to-date that successfully harness neutrophil effector functions. Neutrophils are known to infiltrate many different cancer types, inherently possess the capacity to kill cancer cells via IgA/CD89-dependent and -independent mechanisms, and are known to cross-talk with other innate and adaptive immune cells to propagate the immune response, including T cell response. TigaTx’s proprietary engineered IgA platform overcomes prior manufacturing challenges for IgA, thus enabling a promising new class of biologics for the treatment of cancer patients.
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Stefan Pflanz