MDB Capital leads I-O startup Cue Biopharma in $26M raise

Its platform was originally developed in academia via a grant from the NIH.

Two years after being founded, Cambridge, Massachusetts, upstart Cue Biopharma has raised $26 million to help advance its  work using biologics to target T cell receptors to help patients’ immune systems defeat cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The total $26 million of invested private capital was led by MDB Capital Group, with $10 million of initial seed funding followed up by the $16.4 million in extra financing.

The Cue platform was developed in Almo’s laboratory at the Albert Einstein College, funded by investments from the National Institutes of Health.

Cue Biopharma says that from this, it has developed a “highly productive platform for designing biologic drugs that generate tailored immune responses from disease-relevant T cell populations by emulating the signals, or cues, delivered by the body’s antigen presenting cells.”

It is using this approach both on its own, as well as, in the new trend, of combos with checkpoint inhibitors. It also hopes its drugs can yield the desired efficacy with a strong safety profile.

“It has become increasingly clear that more effective and less toxic approaches to immune modulation are needed via precise communication with and control of T cells,” said Daniel Passeri, president and CEO of Cue Biopharma, and former head of Curis.

“With the Cue platform, we have demonstrated selectivity for and modulation of disease-relevant T cells. Our lead candidate has proven highly effective in preclinical cancer models and has shown impressive synergy when combined with checkpoint inhibitors. Our approach to modulating the immune system to treat disease could have great clinical benefit for patients, while reducing collateral toxicities often seen with less selective immunotherapies.”