BriaCell Therapeutics has signed up to a subscription agreement with an undisclosed “leading U.S. biotechnology fund” for an initial investment of C$650,000 (US$824,000).
BriaCell, which has corporate offices in West Vancouver and California, said it intends to use the offering to help boost its Phase I/IIa clinical trial for BriaVax--the biotech’s lead product, which works as a genetically engineered whole-cell vaccine derived from a human breast tumor cell line.
This targeted vaccine is believed to generate strong antibody and T-cell responses, which in turn may boost the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancerous cells--and follows the latest trend in immuno-oncology targets.
Early stage trials showed “encouraging clinical results,” according to the company, specifically in terms of both safety and efficacy in patients with advanced breast and ovarian tumors. It is also planning to trial a companion diagnostic platform known as BriaDx alongside the cancer vaccine. Further midstage trials for both is planned “in the coming months” according to a statement.
This comes after a tough period for the biotech as exactly a month ago it announced its CEO and president Dr. Joseph Wagner resigned his positions effective immediately, in order to “pursue other opportunities.” He had only been at the helm since the summer of 2015. Rahoul Sharan, a director, has been appointed interim CEO as the board searches for a long-term replacement.
The private subscription deal, which is expected to close tomorrow, was placed by Rodman & Renshaw, a unit of H.C. Wainwright & Co.
"We are extremely pleased to report that BriaCell is now funded through its next major milestones," commented BriaCell’s CFO Gadi Levin.
"Interest in BriaCell has surged following the Company's recent scientific research and development achievements. H.C. Wainwright and the institutional investor are both sophisticated in biotech, and we are pleased to have partners who believe in the potential of BriaCell's immuno-oncology platform. This financing creates significant value for the company by strengthening the company's balance sheet and by positioning the company to advance towards very important value drivers."
While HCW has gained a boost for the biotech, this small placement is just the beginning as it plans to seek an up-listing onto the Nasdaq.
BriaCell said it has “long believed that the optimal stock exchange for a mature biotech is the Nasdaq,” given the greater access to institutional biotech investors it brings. It is now ever-more hopeful of raising an IPO after the equity investment with the “U.S. investment bank and US institutional investor” has helped it gain a stronger foothold in the U.S. market.
-see the release