Stealthy Torque powers through with $21M raise

The biotech is working on I-O meds and has a growing team of biopharma vets

Flagship Pioneering’s quiet oncology upstart Torque Therapeutics has filed a $21 million raise as it lands in Kendall Square.

According to its SEC form picked up by the Boston Business Journal, the company has raised just shy of $21 million, with $35 million in total on the cards, and is being headed up by Merrimack’s founder and, until 2015, its CSO Ulrik Nielsen, Ph. D.

The biotech, based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA is working on so-called “Deep-Primed” immune cell therapeutics in cancer.

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“We are using a technology platform to anchor powerful biotherapeutics—stimulatory cytokines, antibodies, and small molecules—directly to immune cells to direct and evoke immune cell responses, locally in the tumor microenvironment,” according to its website.

It has finished off preclinical studies with its first clinical candidate—Deep IL-15—which it says has shown “increased t-cell proliferation, engraftment, and tumor cell killing, including the potential to improve on pre-conditioning regimens.” The drug should enter the clinic in the first half of 2018.

It has a number of biopharma vets, including Becker Hewes, M.D., its CMO and most recently serving as an executive medical director at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, where he worked on I-O meds, among other cancer candidates.