Tallac Therapeutics launches with $62M run by ALX Oncology vets, with an eye on next-gen cancer

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A host of top-suite venture capitalist firms has helped put together a meaty series A for an immuno-oncology biotech 2.0.

Californian startup Tallac Therapeutics has $62 million and the backing of venBio Partners, Morningside Venture, Lightstone Ventures, Matrix Partners China and MRL Ventures Fund, and it will use this cash to tap its toll-like receptor agonist antibody-conjugate platform.

This platform is looking to help defeat the resistance to new therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-Ts, and/or help those who may not benefit at all or only temporarily from these.  

New immunotherapies, known as toll-like receptor agonists, are designed to generate both an innate and adaptive immune response, which may produce more robust and durable anti-cancer immunity to help overcome the sort of resistance seen from other oncology therapies.

The biotech is still early-stage, but gets off to life with a good start in terms of backing and a group of senior biotech veterans. This group includes co-founders Corey Goodman, Ph.D., and Hong Wan, Ph.D., who previously served as chief scientific officer of ALX Oncology, a CD47 biotech with a focus on solid and blood cancers. The other co-founders are Jaume Pons, Ph.D., currently CEO of ALX Oncology, and Curt Bradshaw, Ph.D., most recently CSO at RNAi biotech Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals.

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“We believe targeting innate immunity represents a transformative approach to creating the next-generation of breakthrough therapeutics in cancer immunotherapy,” said Wan, president and CEO of Tallac Therapeutics.

“Tallac has developed a scientifically innovative technology platform to create potent, systemically delivered therapeutics with the potential to provide powerful innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity across multiple tumor types,” added Goodman, board chair of Tallac Therapeutics and managing partner at venBio.

“We are pleased to see the progress made by the team during the seed stage and look forward to supporting Tallac as they advance their pipeline towards the clinic.”