OncoImmune nabs $56M round for late-stage COVID-19 tests, leukemia treatment

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OncoImmune has raised $56 million in a series B as it looks to push on with late-stage tests for its experimental drug CD24Fc in both leukemia patients and its recent pivot to COVID-19.

The drug, which is designed to regulate host inflammatory response to tissue injuries, has predominately been tested in graft-versus-host disease (GvHD).

This can be a deadly result in leukemia patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This is, in essence, a bone marrow transplant, with cells coming from your own body or from a donor, which is an allogeneic transplant.

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This can, however, sometimes be rejected by the body, in a condition that might occur after an allogeneic transplant. In GvHD, the donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells view the recipient's body as foreign, and the donated cells/bone marrow attack the body.

In a recent midstage test, OncoImmune’s therapy showed it could help patients gain GvHD survival, and, with its new cash haul, it will now continue on into later-stage testing.

After the pandemic starting raging earlier this year, the biotech also believes the drug’s MOA can potentially help some COVID-19 patients. The drug is now in phase 3 tests to see whether it can protect against immune destruction in severe and critical COVID-19 patients.

“The trial plans to enroll over 270 patients and is near its enrollment target with top-line readouts expected soon,” the biotech said in a brief update.

The series B was co-led by HM Capital and a blue-chip investor. Existing investors 3E Bioventures Capital and Kaitai Capital as well as additional new investors GBA Fund and GF Xinde also joined the round.

“We are delighted to see the significant progress OncoImmune has made in the past few years. It exemplifies how great scientific discovery can be turned into potential novel therapeutics benefiting patients,” said Karen Liu, Ph.D., a partner at 3E Bioventures Capital, which led OncoImmune’s series A round in 2017.

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