TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmunoBiochem Corporation, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing novel biological therapeutics, has completed a new round of financing led by angel investors and the company's founding investor. ImmunoBiochem has also expanded its operations and is now located at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS in Toronto (JLABS @ Toronto).
ImmunoBiochem is solving the problem of tumor heterogeneity by targeting a novel class of proteins in the tumor microenvironment with Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) – a promising class of anticancer therapeutics that combine the selectivity of targeted biologics with the potency of highly cytotoxic small-molecule drugs. ImmunoBiochem's R&D is focused on the cancer cell secretome – the totality of proteins secreted by cancer cells. Select cancer targets are only secreted by cancer cells and accumulate in tumors, and can be exploited for targeted and selective delivery of cytotoxic payloads with ImmunoBiochem's therapeutics platform. ImmunoBiochem's highest priority is to transform the life of patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) – an aggressive disease with poor survival that does not respond to major therapies.
"We have now validated our approach in vivo in xenograft animal models of aggressive triple-negative breast cancer," said Dr. Anton Neschadim, CEO of ImmunoBiochem. "With strong preclinical data demonstrating exceptional efficacy and safety, we are now seeking to complete preclinical development and accelerate these new therapies into the clinic."
ImmunoBiochem's candidates for the treatment of breast cancer and other solid tumors are based on fully-human antibodies developed in partnership with the Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB) and University of Toronto.
"We are excited about ImmunoBiochem's novel therapeutic strategy to address unmet medical needs in such challenging indications as triple-negative-breast cancer," said Robert Verhagen, CEO of CCAB. "Applying CCAB's state-of-the-art technology and protein engineering expertise to ImmunoBiochem's innovation in tumor microenvironment targeting, we have helped ImmunoBiochem to develop high-value therapeutic candidates with game-changing potential in our fight against cancer."
ImmunoBiochem is based in JLABS @ Toronto, located at the MaRS Discovery District, at the heart of Canada's largest biomedical hub and a vibrant, growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. JLABS @ Toronto is a 40,000 square-foot life science innovation center. The labs provide a flexible environment for start-up companies pursuing new technologies and research platforms to advance medical care. Through a "no strings attached" model, Johnson & Johnson Innovation does not take an equity stake in the companies occupying JLABS and the companies are free to develop products - either on their own, or by initiating a separate external partnership with Johnson & Johnson Innovation or any other company.
"The University of Toronto is proud to see made-in-Canada innovations translated into the clinic, building on Canada's long history of biomedical innovation," said Vivek Goel, University of Toronto's Vice President of Research and Innovation. "ImmunoBiochem is yet another example of the vibrant technology and start-up community which is thriving in Toronto."
ImmunoBiochem is a member of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) and is partaking in the OBIO Capital Access Advisory Program (CAAP®) – an intensive advisor and investor introductions program for health science companies raising post-seed financing. The company is also supported by MaRS Health and the Health Innovation Hub (H2i) accelerator at the University of Toronto.
"H2i is very pleased to see this strategic investment in ImmunoBiochem, an H2i-supported early-stage company," said Professor Paul Santerre, Health Innovation Hub Director. "The investment is instrumental in driving this University of Toronto-partnered venture one step closer to generating innovative new cancer therapeutics."
ImmunoBiochem will be in San Francisco, California, in January 2018 for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Week, attending investor conferences to discuss recent scientific advances, and is open to additional partnerships and investment.
About ImmunoBiochem Corporation
ImmunoBiochem is a privately held biopharmaceutical company that has developed a disruptive approach to targeting unique proteins in the secretomes of cancer cells with Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) – an emerging class of anticancer therapeutics that combine the selectivity of targeted biologics with the potency of highly cytotoxic small-molecule drugs. ImmunoBiochem has identified a class of molecular targets that are secreted by cancer cells, but not healthy cells, and accumulate in the tumor microenvironment. These cancer targets possess unique properties enabling the highly-selective delivery of toxic payloads to cancer cells with engineered ADC therapeutics, while leaving normal cells unharmed. ImmunoBiochem's next-generation ADCs for oncology aim to offer a superior safety profile and broad therapeutic window, preventing on-target toxicities against normal, healthy cells that are common with many ADCs. Its lead candidates are being developed for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) – an aggressive disease for which no targeted biological therapeutic treatment options are currently available.
Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto (http://utoronto.ca) has evolved into Canada's leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation and one of the world's top research-intensive universities. With three campuses, nine affiliated teaching hospitals and $1.2B a year in external research funding, the University of Toronto is a research and innovation powerhouse with a growing entrepreneurship ecosystem. It contributes $15.7 billion to the Canadian economy every year and has created 150 new companies based on research and technologies in the last five years, more than any other institution in North America. The University has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, offering students an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus. The University of Toronto consistently tops the country in international rankings, and ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world.
About the CCAB
The Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB) (https://ccabcanada.com) is a not-for-profit organization focused on translating research discoveries into products and capturing the tremendous commercial potential arising from the University of Toronto's antibody research and discovery engine: Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC). CCAB's mission is to create an internationally recognized and world-class centre for biologics development and commercialization within Canada. CCAB achieves this by reducing the development time of preclinical candidates and increasing the number of licensed therapeutic products originating from Canada. CCAB provides R&D and manufacturing know-how needed to develop antibodies into commercial products for a number of applications including: therapeutics, diagnostics, immunosensors, imaging, and research reagents.
About MaRS Health
MaRS Health (http://www.marsdd.com/our-sectors/health) provides ventures and entrepreneurs with access to counsel, resources and capital, and serves as a bridge between innovators and institutions, operating core programs to help grow global companies and bring about change in the healthcare system.
The Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) (http://www.obio.ca) founded in 2009, is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization engaged in strategy, programming, policy development and advocacy to further the commercialization of Ontario's human health technologies positioning Ontario as a leader in the international marketplace. OBIO advances this goal through collaborative partnerships with industry, the investment community, academia, the health system and government. The OBIO Capital Access Advisory Program (CAAP®) is an intensive, goal-driven program of coaching and targeted advisor and investor introductions. The program drives fundraising success for health science companies looking to raise post-seed funding and operates downstream from existing entrepreneurship programs.
Health Innovation Hub (H2i) (http://h2i.utoronto.ca) is a campus-linked accelerator within University of Toronto Entrepreneurship, which has the mission to Educate, Enable, Facilitate and Partner trainee-initiated commercialization of health matters, and the mission to create the culture, infrastructure and momentum that aligns, connects, serves and facilitates the translation of discoveries and ideas into problem-solving designs that impact positively on health matters.