31-Aug-2020 - Triumvira Immunologics, Inc.

Start-up develops novel next-generation immuno oncology treatments

Bayer and Northpond Ventures lead USD 55 million Series A financing round

Triumvira Immunologics Inc. (“Triumvira”), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing a novel platform for engineering T-cells to attack cancers, successfully completed a USD 55 million Series A financing round. The financing was co-led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment unit of Bayer AG, and Northpond Ventures. Additional investors include Oceanpine Capital and Viva Biotech Holdings, and existing investors include Bloom Burton & Co. and the Centre for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy (C3i).

T-cells are a type of white blood cell that are critical in ridding the body from abnormal and cancerous cells in healthy individuals. In cancer patients, these T-cells frequently fail to either recognize or effectively engage cancer cells. Novel T-cell therapies have the potential to disrupt cancer care and potentially even provide cures. Triumvira is committed to develop novel T-cell therapies that are safer and more efficacious than current cell therapy cancer treatments, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and engineered T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies. This financing will enable Triumvira to advance multiple autologous and allogeneic programs into the clinic for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

Curing and preventing cancer is one of the main focus areas of Leaps by Bayer, as this disease still represents one of today’s most pressing health concerns, especially since there are limited curative or preventative therapies available.

“We are very excited about the potential of Triumvira’s platform. It represents a unique opportunity in the development of next-generation cell therapies that promise to address previously incurable cancers,” said Juergen Eckhardt, MD, Head of Leaps by Bayer.

Triumvira’s foundational technology is the T-cell Antigen Coupler (TAC). TAC is a hybrid molecule comprising multiple protein domains to combine tumor targeting abilities with the T-cell’s own activation machinery, leveraging the potential for the development of superior therapies for a broader range of patients with solid or liquid malignancies. Triumvira’s preclinical data with autologous and allogeneic programs demonstrate unique biological differences between TAC-engineered T-cells and second-generation CAR-T cells, with TAC-T cells showing absence of tonic signaling, strong tumor penetration, and long-term persistence. These functional properties help TAC T-cells produce strong anti-tumor activity and no evidence of toxicity, particularly in models of solid tumors.

“With so many engineered T-cell therapy companies developing new T-cell technologies, it is all about differentiation,” said Dr. Paul Lammers, President and CEO of Triumvira. “We are excited to have a strong group of investors join our Series A syndicate, who believe in the promise of our proprietary TAC technology, which incorporates an innovative, well-differentiated, and patented design. As we develop our technology that has the potential to be used in treating both hematological and solid tumors, we hope to show that differentiation in clinical trials soon and provide a significant benefit to cancer patients.”

Dr. Juergen Eckhardt and Dr. Jak Knowles will represent Leaps by Bayer by actively participating on Triumvira’s board of directors together with Dr. Shaan Gandhi, Principal at Northpond Ventures. Additionally, Scott Smith, current President at BioAtla and former President and Chief Operating Officer at Celgene, has been named Chairman of the Board. Brian Bloom, Dr. Paul Lammers, and independent Director Cynthia Collins, President & CEO at Editas Medicine, will remain on the Triumvira board.

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