BALTIMORE, Sept. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland (UM) BioPark and UM Ventures announced today that ImmuCision BioTherapeutics (ICBT), a UM, Baltimore startup company specializing in immunotherapy, has established offices and laboratory space in the BioPark. ICBT, which commercializes and develops dendritic cell immunology technologies to address human cancers that are not treatable by conventional therapies, also recently received a significant investment, helping it to quickly advance its research and development programs.
"The dendritic cell is the master regulator of host immunity, however, current methods in dendritic cell preparation, activation and tumor antigen loading have various technical hurdles, which have thus far limited broad application of dendritic cell technology in cancer therapy," said Hua Cheng, PhD, founder of ICBT. "ImmuCision has developed an innovative method that can significantly improve the growth (and quality) of dendritic cells in the lab. In addition, the newly developed method allows efficient genetic modification to enhance dendritic cell function."
Launched in 2017, ICBT has obtained a license from the University of Maryland, Baltimore for proprietary ihv-DC technology, which allows the immortalization of dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are a key immune system regulator that can effectively provide a platform for developing cytotoxic lymphocytes and natural killer cells specific to certain diseases. This type of immunotherapy has the potential to be more effective than chemotherapy for cancer or virus treatments, because immune therapies are more targeted, may have fewer side effects and don't trigger microbial resistance as frequently.
Several important milestones led to ICBT's move to the UM BioPark. The company's technology was validated in a May 2018 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), demonstrating its capacity for creating specific immune cells that exhibited significant tumor and metastasis inhibition in animal lung cancer models. The company also has filed an international patent application covering the technology.
In addition, in March 2018 ImmuCision received an upfront $2 million payment from an undisclosed pharmaceutical firm in China to sublicense the company's dendritic cell technology. This financial support marked the first external investment in ICBT.
Said James Hughes, Chief Economic Development Officer and Vice President at UMB, "With ImmuCision, the BioPark has added another important healthcare startup to its innovative tenant base. We are excited that the company has received validation through a peer-reviewed publication and an external investment. We're proud that we can take part of the development of their promising technologies to more effectively treat cancer and other diseases."
About ImmuCision BioTherapeutics
ImmuCision BioTherapeutics (ICBT) was established to commercialize and develop dendritic cell-based immunotherapy technologies that have been established at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. This technology has the potential to yield treatment applications for human cancer involving derivative cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells. ICBT has licensed the ihv-DC technologies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. ImmuCision's founder Hua Cheng has identified an expert and seasoned management advisory team, capable of developing ICBT technologies to their fullest potential.
About the University of Maryland BioPark
The UM BioPark is a biomedical research park on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). The BioPark welcomes additional life science companies to join its growing scientific community of emerging, high-growth life science tenants and UMB translational research and clinical treatment centers. For early-stage to mature bioscience companies, the BioPark offers a sophisticated laboratory and office environment on UMB's vibrant academic medical center campus. Community members are commercializing new drugs, diagnostics and devices and advancing biomedical research. Learn more about BioPark tenants at http://www.umbiopark.com/tenants.aspx.
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org/ to learn more.
SOURCE University of Maryland BioPark; UM Ventures