AMAL Therapeutics SA (AMAL), a Swiss biotech developing peptide-based therapeutic cancer vaccines, today announces that it has completed the second closing of its Series B financing round. The second and final tranche of €21.2 million (CHF 24.2 million) brings the total round to just over €29 million (CHF 33.2 million). AMAL received follow-on funding from the same syndicate of investors that committed €8 million at the first close in September 2017.
The company will use the funds to progress its lead vaccine (ATP128) toward clinical development and proof-of-concept in colorectal cancer, a leading cause of mortality and a significant market opportunity (€9.6 billion by 2025). The clinical trial is expected to start in summer 2019.
In addition, AMAL will further develop its proprietary technology KISIMA®, a unique self-adjuvanting protein-based immunisation platform capable of producing single therapeutic vaccines for immunotherapy and beyond.
KISIMA® enables the assembly of the following patented fusion proteins into one single vaccine: firstly, a proprietary cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery, secondly, a proprietary TLR- peptide agonist as adjuvant, and thirdly, a modulable multi-antigenic cargo that can be tailored for various indications.
The platform is highly versatile and can potentially be used to produce synthetic polypeptides for neoantigens or to provide modified antigen delivery. Alternatively, using a long peptide as cargo, the platform can carry a larger antigen portion containing multiple CD8 and CD4 epitopes for various HLA restrictions.
Dr Madiha Derouazi, CEO and founder of AMAL Therapeutics, said: "We are extremely proud of the unwavering support that AMAL has received from its investors over the past few years. Closing our Series B financing round at €29 million will allow us to build our clinical trial programme on solid foundations and shows the high regard our KISIMA® technology is held in by the market.”
Dr Frank Kalkbrenner, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund’s representative on AMAL’s Board, added: “Financing AMAL since its early inception and following the company’s progress since then, we are very impressed by the delivery capacity of its team. We are delighted to reaffirm our support for AMAL at such an important time for the Company and to finance the-first-in man trial of its drug candidate. We believe that ATP128 has the potential to be a game-changing drug in the immunotherapy field.”
Mr Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, commented: “AMAL is a great example of what the Helsinn Investment Fund was set up to support: dynamic healthcare businesses bringing the best of scientific innovation to patients. We’re delighted to have been able to participate in this funding round and believe that the funds raised will help AMAL bring its ATP128 vaccine towards proof of concept. We look forward to working closely with AMAL on further clinical developments.”
Dr Andreas Wallnöfer, BioMed Partners representative on AMAL’s Board, said: “AMAL‘s technology is innovative and promising, with compelling preclinical data. The planned clinical study has the potential to facilitate the translation of science into great benefit for patients. KISIMA® provides hope that cancer vaccines will become an important therapeutic option in combination with other immuno-modulating cancer agents.”
Dr Diego Braguglia, VI Parners representative, commented: “AMAL’s innovative immunisation platform holds great promise to overcome limitations faced by the current approach of existing cancer vaccines. Moreover, KISIMA® is aimed to set the first cornerstone in tailored cancer therapy. We look forward to increasing our collaboration with AMAL’s experienced team to advance what we believe will become a unique pioneering approach.”