Replimune Group Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing next generation oncolytic immunotherapies, announced today the completion of a $55 million Series B financing. The proceeds of the financing will primarily be used to generate human proof of concept data for its lead product, RP1, in multiple tumor types. The financing will also allow the Company to advance further product candidates from its Immulytic™ platform.
The financing was led by Foresite Capital who were joined by other new investors including Bain Capital Life Sciences, Redmile Group, Cormorant Asset Management and entities affiliated with Leerink Partners. All of the Company's existing investors; Atlas Venture, Forbion Capital Partners, and Omega Funds, also meaningfully participated. Dr. Brett Zbar from Foresite Capital will join Replimune's board of directors, as will Dr. Kapil Dhingra, previously head of clinical oncology at Roche, and currently an advisor to the Company.
"RP1 and the Immulytic™ platform have the potential to be transformative in the treatment of a broad range of solid tumor types and to become a cornerstone of immuno-oncology-based treatments," said Dr. Brett Zbar of Foresite Capital. He continued, "We view the Replimune management team as the most experienced in the oncolytic immunotherapy field, having developed the first and only oncolytic product to obtain approval by the FDA." Replimune also separately announced today the appointment of Howard Kaufman, M.D., FACS, as the company's Chief Medical Officer.
The Immulytic™ platform is designed to maximize systemic immune activation, in particular to tumor neoantigens, through robust viral mediated immunogenic tumor cell killing and the delivery of optimal combinations of immune activating proteins to the tumor and draining lymph nodes. This approach is expected to be highly synergistic with immune checkpoint blockade and other approaches to cancer treatment.
"Securing this heavily oversubscribed financing from leading life science and biotechnology investors is a significant milestone that puts Replimune in a strong financial position to advance our Immulytic™-based programs into clinical trials in a broad range of solid tumor types. These funds will also enable us to establish in house GMP manufacturing capabilities in preparation for the later stage clinical development and commercialization of our products," said Dr. Robert Coffin, co-founder & C.E.O. of Replimune.
About Oncolytic Immunotherapy
Oncolytic immunotherapy is an emerging class of cancer therapy which exploit the ability of viruses to selectively replicate in and kill tumors, while at the same time inducing a potent, patient-specific, anti-tumor immune response. Oncolytic viruses have the unique ability to generate an autologous vaccine to the patient's particular complement of tumor antigens, including neoantigens, in situ in the patient with a truly off-the-shelf approach. While clear single agent clinical activity has been achieved with oncolytic immunotherapy, particular synergy may be observed in combination with immune checkpoint blockade and other immune-modulatory approaches.
Replimune Group Inc, headquartered in Woburn, MA, was founded in March 2015 to develop the next generation of 'oncolytic immunotherapies' for the treatment of cancer. Replimune is developing novel, proprietary products intended to improve both the direct anti-tumor effects of selective virus replication and the potency of the immune response to the tumor antigens released. The Company's Immulytic™ platform is designed to maximize systemic immune activation, in particular to tumor neoantigens, through robust viral mediated immunogenic tumor cell killing and the delivery of optimal combinations of immune activating proteins to the tumor and draining lymph nodes. The approach is expected to be highly synergistic with immune checkpoint blockade and other approaches to cancer treatment. Replimune intends to progress these therapies rapidly through clinical trials and to combine with other immuno-oncology products with complementary mechanisms of action at an early stage. For more information, please visit http://www.replimune.com .
About Foresite Capital
Foresite Capital provides growth capital to emerging healthcare leaders with disruptive products and services across all healthcare sectors in both the private and public markets. The firm is based in San Francisco with an office in New York. For more information, please visit http://www.foresitecapital.com/.