Israeli immuno-oncology biotherapies company Nectin Therapeutics has completed the first $6 million closing of a financing round led by the aMoon venture capital fund. The investment was made by aMoon Velocity, aMoon's early stage investment fund with the participation of Integra Holdings. Nectin Therapeutics plans raising an overall total of $15 million in the financing round.
Nectin Therapeutics develops novel monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the activity of the recently-discovered Nectin family of proteins, which enable many cancers to evade detection and attack by the immune system. The antibodies therefore boost the immune system and help it fight cancers in solid tissue and in the bloodstream.
While the human immune system is capable of eradicating tumors by identifying cancer cells, many cancers often deploy defense mechanisms to evade attacks by immune T-cells. An anti-cancer treatment that utilizes first of its kind antibodies to block immune checkpoints (the regulators that prevent the immune system from indiscriminately attacking cells) was recently introduced for clinical use, significantly advancing cancer therapies and offering new hope for patients. However, new therapeutics for additional immune checkpoint targets are needed in order to improve immunotherapy treatment.
Nectin Therapeutics was founded in 2017 by Hebrew University of Jerusalem tech fund Integra Holdings. Nectin is based on technology developed by Hebrew University researcher Prof. Ofer Mandelboim from the Immunocology and Cancer Research Center and Prof. Stipan Jonjic from the Department of Histology and Embryology Center for Proteomics at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Rijeka in Croatia.
aMoon Velocity managing director Dorit Sokolov said, "We believe that new immune checkpoint inhibitors will significantly enrich the toolbox of immunotherapy treatments and enable a more effective fight against cancer, whether as an independent treatment or in combination with existing approved drugs. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have already been approved for use in the treatment of various cancerous tumors, but they are effective in a relatively small percentage of patients. We see great value in this investment to help Nectin advance and improve the potential of novel immuno-oncology antibodies."
Nectin Therapeutics cofounder and CSO Dr. Pini Tsukerman said, "We have developed a series of breakthrough products with revolutionary cancer treatment potential. Our expertise combines in-depth understanding of the evasion mechanisms of cancerous tumors from identification by the immune system together with extensive immunological knowledge. This comprehensive understanding allowed us to select unique molecules as a target for the antibodies we develop. We are currently in advanced development stages of a number of antibodies that can improve therapeutic offerings for cancer patients."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 14, 2020
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