NEW YORK — Imvaq Therapeutics Corp., an cancer immunotherapy company founded by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), has closed $15 million in Series B financing.
The company is developing novel viral-based, armed immune-stimulating therapies to treat a variety of solid tumors including skin cancers, sarcoma, as well as hard-to-treat tumors such as triple-negative breast cancer. The Series B financing was led by Hanne Capital and joined by existing Series A investors.
Imvaq has raised over $25 million in capital to date and these funds will enable the company to catalyze the Phase 1 clinical development of its first therapeutic candidate MQ710, a novel 2nd-generation viral immunotherapy based on armed Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA), and to advance additional novel assets in its pipeline.
“Imvaq’s Vaccinia Immunotherapy Platform (VIP) offers many advantages. It has the largest transgene insertion capacity compared to the leading viral therapy platforms such as HSV or adenovirus. It also has the most extensive species safety record with millions of successful vaccinations using live Vaccinia virus and MVA over several decades. Additionally, Imvaq has developed a proprietary cGAS/STING screen used to eliminate the major immune evasion and suppression genes in vaccinia that blunt the effectiveness to therapy,” explained Dr. John Choi, CEO and co-founder of Imvaq Therapeutics. “Ultimately, every physician’s mission is to provide cancer patients with the most effective treatments to cure or control their disease while minimizing unwanted effects.”
“We are truly impressed with Imvaq’s founding team and management who have deep expertise in virology, biologics, and clinical oncology. Its lead program in next-generation oncolytic-virus therapeutics has generated solid preclinical data and demonstrated promising clinical potential,” said Dr. John Jin, Founding Partner at Hanne Capital. “We are delighted to help bring life-saving cancer therapies to those patients in critical need, and very pleased to help the company accomplish this vision globally.”
In addition to filing its Investigative New Drug Application (IND) and starting its Phase 1 clinical trials for MQ710, the Series B capital will also support the company’s continuing pipeline development. Imvaq is currently developing two vaccinia-based platforms including oncolytic vaccinia and non-oncolytic MVA virus strains that are armed with multiple immuno-stimulatory transgenes that maximize anti-tumor response via both single agent therapy and combinations with immune checkpoint inhibitors.