Enumeral banks $21.5M for immuno-oncology R&D

Biotech startup Enumeral Biomedical has pulled off a deal that gives it $21.5 million in financing and access to public markets, paving the way for early-stage work on some cancer immunotherapies.

Under the agreement, Enumeral has merged into the shell of a company called Cerulean--not to be confused with the biotech of the same name ($CERU)--at the same time executing a $21.5 million private placement courtesy of Montrose Capital Partners and landing on the OTC market under "ENUM."

The move will help bankroll Enumeral's preclinical pipeline of therapies that harness the power of the immune system to fend off disease. Leading the way are early-stage antibodies for the cancer-related checkpoints PD-1, OX40 and Lag-3, the company said, and the Cambridge, MA, biotech is working on treatments for infectious and inflammatory diseases.

Enumeral's discovery platform comes from in-licensed technology from Harvard, MIT, the Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, the company said, mining for rare cell types that could lead to new antibodies.

"We believe that Enumeral has a unique ability to extensively interrogate cells of the human immune system for drug candidate validation," R&D Vice President Cokey Nguyen said in a statement. "This ability gives us a distinct advantage in selecting potential best-in-class therapeutic candidates."

Now, with cash in hand and an OTC listing that can bring in more, Enumeral is scouting for partners to help take its internal candidates from the lab to the clinic. The company said it has already entered into 5 proof-of-concept collaborations with undisclosed drugmakers, and CEO Arthur Tinkelenberg said the industry's increasing interest in immunotherapies should help Enumeral attract some attention.

- read the statement