GERMANTOWN, Md. and NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- NextCure, Inc., a newly formed biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of new immuno-oncology products, today announced that it has raised a $67 million Series A financing. Major investors in the financing Canaan Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Pfizer Inc. and Sofinnova Ventures, were joined by Alexandria Venture Investments.
NextCure was founded in 2015 by Michael Richman, who will serve as its President and Chief Executive Officer, and Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D., United Technologies Endowed Professor of Cancer Research, Professor of Immunobiology, Dermatology, and Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. The Company plans to develop product candidates licensed from Dr. Chen's laboratory and has entered into a multi-year agreement with Yale University under which it will sponsor research and hire new scientists in Dr. Chen's laboratory. In 2014, Dr. Chen received the William B. Coley Award for outstanding achievements in Basic and Tumor Immunology for his discovery of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway as target for cancer immunotherapy. This pathway is targeted by two cancer immunotherapy drugs in current clinical use (Opdivo®, Keytruda®) and by many other products in clinical development.
"Immuno-oncology drugs are making a big impact on the survival of many cancer patients. Our research is targeted to finding new cures for those patients and tumor types which do not adequately respond to available therapy," said Dr. Chen.
"The NextCure management team is honored to once again collaborate with Dr. Chen and we are gratified by the support of our Series A investors in funding our ambitious target discovery and product development plans," said Mr. Richman. "The Company has begun recruiting scientists and will commence operations in the coming months."
Mr. Richman was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Amplimmune, Inc., a biologics company focused on cancer and autoimmune diseases that was acquired by AstraZeneca plc. Three other former members of the Amplimmune management team will join Mr. Richman on the NextCure management team: Solomon Langermann, Ph.D., who will serve as senior vice president of research; James Bingham, Ph.D., senior vice president of development and manufacturing and Linda Liu, Ph.D., vice president of translational research. David Kabakoff, Ph.D., executive partner of Sofinnova Ventures, who was a co-founder of and Chairman of Amplimmune, will serve as Chairman of NextCure. Dr. Chen was also a scientific co-founder of Amplimmune and inventor of key programs developed by the company.
About NextCure, Inc.
NextCure, launched in 2015, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing next generation immuno-oncology-based drugs. The Company is applying its proprietary platforms and know-how to identify novel and biologically relevant targets and develop first-in-class immunotherapy products.
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SOURCE NextCure, Inc.