Immunotherapy pharmaceutical company OncoPep announced a capital raise of $6.9 million in Series B financing from new and existing investors, including participation from angel groups, family foundations, and individuals. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was one of the companies that decided to provide equity investment, as a result of a review of OncoPep’s application for funding from LLS’ Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP).
The program that led to the financial participation aims to identify therapies with the potential to change the standard of care for patients with blood cancers. OncoPep’s lead product is its cancer vaccine that targets tumor antigens related to the cancer of the plasma cells, multiple myeloma (MM). The vaccine, PVX-410, was granted orphan drug designation in 2013 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is the main product to be supported by the new funds.
“We are delighted to have received financial support from both existing and new investors, including LLS,” said president and chief executive officer of OncoPep, Doris Peterkin. “Their investment translates directly into advancing the only clinical stage immunotherapy for SMM patients, whose current treatment paradigm is routine monitoring for progression through watchful waiting.”
The financing will be used in the clinical development of PVX-410, which is currently being tested in patients with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), an asymptomatic stage of MM. The clinical trials already concluded the administration of the compound on 12 patients, in the ongoing Phase 1/2a clinical trial of PVX-410. The trial has now been expanded in order to include a second treatment arm adding concurrent courses of lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory agent already commercially available for the treatment of MM.
“LLS remains committed to the advancement of promising new treatment options for patients with blood cancers, including those with asymptomatic SMM,” said the chief scientific officer of LLS, Lee Greenberger, Ph.D. “Every dollar we invest in the development of potential novel treatments brings us closer to our goal of curing leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other blood cancers.”
LLS is world’s largest voluntary health agency focusing on blood cancer, and has been working to support projects in order to find the cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, as well as improve the quality of life of patients and their families. OncoPep became a candidate for funding since it is developing targeted immunotherapeutics to prevent the progression of cancer, prolong survival, and restore the quality of life of patients.