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26 November 2014

Imperial not immune to Cell Medica

Imperial Innovations joins the £50m series B into immunotherapy specialist Cell Medica.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Cell Medica, a life sciences firm specialising in immunotherapies, has raised £50m ($78.85m) in its series B.

Investors in the round include Imperial Innovations, the technology transfer office of Imperial College London. Also joining the round are Invesco Perpetual and Woodford Investment Management. Innovations, which contributed £15m to the round, will now hold a 27.6% stake in the firm.

Innovations co-founded Cell Medica along with the firm’s CEO Gregg Sando in 2007. It previously invested in the company in a seed round the year it was formed, and then again in 2012 when it joined Invesco Perpetual and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas in a series A worth $26.5m. At the same time, the Wellcome Trust became a shareholder through the conversion of a loan into equity.

Cell Medica is working on immunotherapy treatments, similar to oncology firms Juno Therapeutics and Adaptimmune. Its two products, Cytovir and Cytorex, looks to tackle infectious diseases and cancer, respectively. Cytovir looks to overcome immunosuppression in stem cell transplant patients through the infusion of T-cells from a healthy donor, while Cytorex is targeting Epstein Barr virus, which has been associated with numerous types of cancer. The latest round of funding will be used to further the development of both products.

Gregg Sando, Cell Medica’s CEO, said: “Immunotherapy is one of the most exciting and fast-moving areas in cancer research right now, and Cell Medica is at the forefront of developing a new paradigm for the safe and effective treatment of patients with advanced lymphomas. The Series B financing will enable the Company to launch and complete the CITADEL Phase 2 clinical trial as an important step towards regulatory approval both in the US and Europe.”

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