SHANGHAI, Nov. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CARsgen, a leader in the development of Chimeric Antigen Receptors T (CAR-T) cell immunotherapy to treat a variety of cancers, today announced the completion of a series A financing led by BVCF, a China-based healthcare private equity fund.
CARsgen is an immunotherapy company focused on the development of new therapeutics for liver, lung, stomach and brain cancers. In collaboration with Shanghai Cancer Institute and Shanghai Renji Hospital, the company plans to initiate clinical studies for its lead therapeutic KJgpc3-001. KJgpc3-001 takes T-cells extracted from the patient, genetically modifies them to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for glypican-3 (GPC3), and then returns to the body to attack the liver cancer. GPC3 is overexpressed in the majority of liver cancers (hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and in preclinical studies, KJgpc3-001 eradicated HCC cells.
"HCC is the fifth most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide," said Li Zonghai, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of CARsgen. "The vast majority of liver cancer patients live in China and unfortunately, it remains underdiagnosed and inadequately treated, with a very high rate of death within the first five years of diagnosis. CARsgen's game-changing CAR-T approach offers new hope for HCC patients. We are proud to complete this financing led by BVCF, a leading healthcare investor in China, and look forward to accelerating our work to bring revolutionary CAR-T cell therapy to HCC patients, and eventually to other cancer patients as well."
Dr. Zhi Yang, the managing partner of BVCF, "We are very excited to be involved in the evolution of CARsgen. The leadership team has a strong background in cancer biology, cancer immunology, and antibody development, as well as clinic cellular therapy technology and has assembled a strong proprietary position in CAR-T cell therapy specifically. Additionally, CARsgen has established a great working relationship with several prominent hospitals in Shanghai, including Renji Hospital, the first western medicine hospital in Shanghai.
About Liver Cancer in China
Liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Although surgery is the most effective treatment for HCC, tumor recurrence after a curative liver resection is very high, and the 5-year survival rate remains only 10%. Importantly, because the majority of patients with HCC are diagnosed at a late disease stage, potentially curative therapies, including chemotherapy are often ineffective, with significant side effects taking an even larger toll. There remains an unmet need for new therapies to treat this deadly disease.
CARsgen is a leading immunotherapy company focused on the development of new chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapeutics for liver, lung, stomach and brain cancers. The company has relationships with Shanghai Cancer Institute and Shanghai Renji Hospital, plans to initiate clinical trials for KJgpc3-001, a glypican-3 (GPC3)-directed CAR-T cell therapy for liver cancer, and is advancing CAR-T therapies for lung and brain cancers in parallel. Funded by leading venture capital firm BVCF, CARsgen is well-positioned to bring a novel cancer therapeutics to the market in China and worldwide.
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