15 Nov 2023
Fundraise led by Sofinnova Partners, F-Prime Capital, Digitalis Ventures and Cambridge Innovation Capital with participation from Sanofi Ventures and the University of Cambridge Venture Fund
Unique transgenic mouse platform harnesses natural power of T cells to build a portfolio of first-in-class cancer medicines
T-Therapeutics (“the Company”), a biotechnology company developing next-generation TCR therapeutics designed to reshape the clinical landscape for cancer patients, today announces it has raised £48 million ($59 million) in a Series A financing led by Sofinnova Partners, F-Prime Capital, Digitalis Ventures and Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) with participation from Sanofi Ventures and the University of Cambridge Venture Fund. The proceeds will be used to discover and develop novel T cell receptor (TCR) therapeutics for cancer indications as well as inflammatory disorders. Concurrent with the financing, Graziano Seghezzi (Sofinnova Partners), Nihal Sinha (F-Prime), Samuel Bjork (Digitalis) and Robert Tansley (CIC) will join the Company’s Board of Directors.
T-Therapeutics, which was spun out of the University of Cambridge, has developed a proprietary transgenic mouse platform, OpTiMus®, which creates an almost unlimited repertoire of ‘optimal’ TCRs as building blocks for pioneering therapies.
Initially, these treatments are being designed to recognise specific cancers and recruit the patient’s own T cells to eradicate the tumour. T-Therapeutics is building a portfolio of transformational TCR-based medicines for cancer, addressing the limitations of current TCR therapies which only apply to certain cancers and lack specificity, leading to significant side effects. T-Therapeutics will also develop medicines which address various auto-immune disorders.
The team at T-Therapeutics includes highly experienced antibody engineers and drug developers who were responsible for the creation of the Kymab and PetMedix antibody discovery platforms and pipelines among other notable discoveries, including at Adaptimmune and GSK. Of note, Kymab was acquired by Sanofi in 2021 for $1.45 billion and PetMedix was acquired by Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company, in September this year.
Professor Allan Bradley, CEO of T-Therapeutics, commented: “We’re delighted to have raised this Series A with such high-quality investors whose amazing networks and shared vision will help us deliver highly differentiated TCR cancer therapies. TCR therapeutics are very much at the dawn of their potential. We intend to replicate the success of therapeutic antibodies but build on this in a new dimension, by using the targeting domains of TCR receptors to take advantage of their much greater specificity for cancer cells compared to normal cells. The same logic can be used to target immunosuppressive biologics to tissues impacted by autoimmune disorders.
“By engineering a mouse that makes human TCRs, we are able to discover anti-cancer TCRs that are quantitatively and qualitatively better than those that can currently be isolated from humans or using display technologies. Our OpTiMus® platform provides an unbeatable starting point, a vast repertoire of unique, fully human TCRs, with the properties to make them ideal to develop into drugs.
“We can also use the OpTiMus® mouse with our decades of mouse genome engineering experience to better understand immune responses to TCR-based therapies, and interpret responses to other immunotherapy interventions such as T-cell engagers, checkpoint inhibitors or future therapies.”
Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said: “Our investment in T-Therapeutics is a reflection of our conviction in both the exceptional team and the transformative technology they’ve brought forward. T-Therapeutics represents the kind of groundbreaking venture Sofinnova is deeply committed to, which has the potential to redefine healthcare. We are proud to be alongside Allan and the team as they pioneer a new era in cancer treatment.”