immatics biotechnologies

Fierce 15 Winner

Based: Tuebingen, Germany
Founded: 2000
Website: www.immatics.com

The Scoop: "Immunotherapeutics is becoming one of the hottest fields in cancer research, and immatics can play a leading role in Europe."

What makes it Fierce: Back at the beginning of the year, immatics garnered €40 million in venture capital, the biggest round the country had seen in six years. And immatics has plans for that money.

At the top of the list are two parallel Phase II trials in cancer; IMA901 for renal cell cancer and IMA910 for colorectal cancer. Both of these programs were built on research developed at the University of Tuebingen focusing on tumor-associated peptides that spur the body's immune system to work against cancer cells. And the company says the same approach can be used against a range of cancers, offering the prospect of new development programs for other indications.

Phase I for IMA901 wrapped last October with safety data backed up by clear signs of efficacy. Of the 28 patients tested, 70 percent demonstrated an immune response to the tumor-associated antigens in the therapy.

It's all a long way for a company that got started when venture capital was hard to come by and only fragile support existed for the notion that immunotherapeutics could work. Dr. Harpreet Singh, one of the company's four co-founders, says that with interest in the field growing over the last three years, immatics is positioned to do a partnership agreement based on Phase I data--if the right deal comes along.

What to look for: In addition to managing its proof-of-concept trials, immatics plans to add new cancer programs to the four that it is currently pursuing. Singh says the company is already engaged in partnership talks. There is also interest among some pharma companies to do a discovery deal that would use immatics' technology to find new drug candidates. By the end of next year, its mid-stage trial for renal cell cancer should be winding up while its combined Phase I-II for colorectal cancer will be well into its second half.

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