Quiet biotech Amphivena nabs $62M funding round

Little-known and super quiet biotech Amphivena Therapeutics has grabbed a strong and healthy $62 million series C round funding haul.

The Californian company, which has only issued three press releases this year (better than the one for the entire 2018), says this new swag will go toward boosting its in-progress work for AMV564, a bivalent, bispecific T-cell engager that binds CD33 and CD3 in phase 1 for certain blood cancers, as well as in a solid tumor test.

The biotech got off a $20 million series A in 2013, followed by a 2017 series B and today’s $62 million C round. Back in March, in one of its rare updates, it also hired ex-Gilead Sciences exec Victoria Smith, Ph.D., as its chief scientific officer. At Gilead, she had led its oncology development team.

The latest round was co-led by NanoDimension and Qiming Venture Partners USA and included new investors Clough Capital, Aju IB, Korys Merieux, Kaitai Capital, Industrial Investors, Nawton Limited and insiders MPM Capital, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management LLC and Franklin Berger.

Jeanmarie Guenot, Ph.D., Amphivena CEO and president, said: “AMV564 is a T cell engager that selectively eliminates myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in cancer patients while sparing normal neutrophils and monocytes. Its unique activity and excellent safety profile positions AMV564 well, as monotherapy or in combination with other agents, for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.”

“The Series C financing is an endorsement by new and existing investors of our leadership in the evolving T cell engagement space,” added Peter Van Vlasselaer, Ph.D., executive chairman and former CEO at Armo Biosciences (now owned by Lilly).

“This funding enables us to study the therapeutic impact of selective MDSC removal in both hematologic and solid cancers and to advance AMV564 and our novel T cell engagement portfolio to the forefront of immuno-oncology.”