Cold Genesys rakes in $13.6M for its cancer-fighting virus

California biotech Cold Genesys has wrapped up a $13.6 million A round to support its work on cancer treatment that promises to infect tumor cells and convince the immune system to join the fight.

The cash, courtesy of Ally Bridge Group, will help Cold Genesys support an ongoing Phase II/III study on CG0070, its lead candidate. The treatment is an oncolytic virus wired to target cancer cells, killing tumors with a dual mechanism of action, first multiplying within the cell to disrupt growth pathways, and then expressing the gene GM-CSF to bring the body's dendritic cells and T cells into the fray.

Cold Genesys in-licensed the therapy from BioSante, which had already completed a Phase I study in 35 patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Now the biotech is looking to get CG0070 across the finish line in the same indication, kicking off enrolling its Phase II/III study in March and expect final data in 2018.

"The addition of Ally Bridge Group as a strategic investor at this critical juncture of our CG0070 program for NMIBC not only enables us to complete the Phase III portion of the BOND trial, but also allows us to immediately develop other treatment options in advanced bladder cancer, as well as in other solid tumors," CEO Alex Yeung said in a statement.

Ally Bridge is a Hong Kong-headquartered investor targeting drug and medical device developers in the U.S. and China. The company's portfolio includes the IPO hopeful Otonomy, Celgene ($CELG) founder Sol Barer's RestorGenex and oncology outfit ImmunGene.

- read the statement