Immunome uses technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whitehead Institute that is based on an analysis of B cells from early stage cancer patients, particularly those who have had a strong response with a checkpoint inhibitor. The idea is to use these to create monoclonal antibodies that are screened to identify the most important ones and their targets, which are then further engineered.
The Philadelphia, PA-based startup was founded in 2008 and raised $5 million of a Series A round in April that it now said will hit $12.2 million. Last year, Immunome also lined up a discovery deal with an undisclosed “large multinational biotechnology company” to identify novel immuno-oncology targets; the terms of the deal were also undisclosed.
“This funding allows us to continue to aggressively optimize and implement our unique outcome-based discovery engine,” said Immunome President and CSO Michael Morin in a statement. “We begin the process with patients who have cancer-educated immune systems, particularly those who have had a robust response to a checkpoint inhibitor.”
Morin spent 17 years at Pfizer, where he was the VP of global R&D; in that position, he oversaw immunology, antibacterials and cancer drug discovery.
“Our platform then generates large libraries of hybridomas, utilizes high-content screening approaches and identifies targets of the most important antibodies, before finally engineering drug-like qualities into the therapeutic candidates,” he added.
Militia Hill Ventures is among the investors in the cancer immunotherapy company. Its CEO is Jane Hollingsworth, who founded the venture firm and is a managing partner. In March, Militia Hill opened the MHV Innovation Hub in Philadelphia for early stage life sciences companies.
Hollingsworth was the co-founder and CEO of migraine patch company NuPathe, which was acquired by Teva ($TEVA) in 2014 for $114 million up front plus sales milestones. But the pharma was forced to shelve the patch this summer on patient reports of burning and scarring.
Mid-Atlantic healthcare-focused BioAdvance and Delaware Crossing are also Immunome investors.