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14 December 2017

Pionyr institutes $62m series B

NEA has led a series B round for cancer treatment developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, co-founded by researchers from UC San Francisco and University of Toronto.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

US-based immuno-oncology developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics raised $62m in series B funding yesterday from a consortium that featured spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners (OUP).

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led the round, which also included Sofinnova Ventures, Vida Ventures, Orbimed, SV Health Investors and Mission Bay Ventures.

Founded in 2015 as Precision Immune, Pionyr is creating antibody therapeutics to boost the body’s antitumour immunity. Its approach balances the tumour microenvironment to favour immune-activating myeloid cells over immune-suppressing ones.

The company has multiple preclinical drug candidates in its pipeline and hopes the technology will allow it to exploit an untapped area of immuno-oncology – which usually focuses on T cells – and target multiple cancers.

Pionyr is based on research conducted by Max Krummel, a professor in the Department of Pathology at University of California, San Francisco, and Sachdev Sidhu, a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Donnelly Center at University of Toronto.

Carol Gallagher, partner at NEA, and Mike Powell, general partner at Sofinnova, will join the board of directors, while Arjun Goyal, managing director of Vida, will join as an observer.

Pionyr has now secured a total of $72m in funding, though it has only disclosed details about an $8m series A-1 round in January 2017 that was co-led by Orbimed and SV Life Sciences and featured OUP, Mission Bay and assorted angel investors.

Steven James, president and chief executive of Pionyr, said: "Pionyr has made great progress over the past year and we are extremely gratified that this has led to a financing sufficient in size to take two of our antibodies into human cancer trials.

"NEA, Sofinnova Ventures and Vida Ventures are superb additions to our existing syndicate of top flight investors, and have been tremendously supportive of our efforts to push forward with multiple programs emerging from our pipeline."

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