Next-gen CAR player Quell Therapeutics drives into the fast lane with major $156M round

venture capital funding
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Fierce 15 winner Quell Therapeutics has nabbed a huge $156 million series B round for its new-look cell therapy work.

The London- and Boston-based biotech will funnel some of the cash into its lead asset, QEL-100, for human trials, making it the first multimodular engineered CAR-Treg cell therapy in clinical development.

The startup its looking at bringing CAR technology to not just the immune system's foot soldiers but also their commanders. Quell says it is harnessing the full power of regulatory T cells (Tregs), known as the “master modulators” of immune homeostasis, to create next-gen cell therapies designed to suppress overactive immune responses, drive long-term tolerance in the local immune environment and promote tissue repair.

The focus of QEL-100 is initially liver transplantation, with recruitment expected to begin before the end of the year, as it also looks to delve deeper into its pipeline across transplantation, neuroinflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

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The $156 million, brought in by the likes of by Jeito Capital, Ridgeback Capital Investments, SV Health Investors, Fidelity Management & Research Company and Syncona, will also go toward “enhancing its multi-modular engineered Treg platform and manufacturing footprint.”

“Quell is at the forefront of a new wave of cell therapy,” said Iain McGill, the biotech’s CEO. “We are leading the way with our highly-differentiated, multi-modular approach to Treg therapy engineering and production.

“We are proud to have the support of this premiere syndicate of investors as we drive forward to our next stage of growth. With this financing, we have the full suite of capabilities—capital, cutting-edge science, and a world-class team—to advance our pipeline and platform to key milestones on our path ultimately to deliver potentially transformative therapies to patients suffering from diseases caused by immune dysregulation.”