Novo Holdings, a leading international life science investor, today announces that it has co-led the EUR 6 million seed financing in Asgard Therapeutics AB (“Asgard”), a private biotech company pioneering in vivo direct cell reprogramming approaches to elicit potent anti-cancer immune responses.
Asgard pioneers a novel approach to cancer therapy by reprogramming tumor cells into professional antigen presenting cells. Asgard’s lead program is an off-the-shelf gene therapy that induces a personalized immune response. The approach may also help overcome logistic and manufacturing hurdles of more conventional cell-based therapies.
The Company stems from the Lund University’s Cell Reprogramming and Immunity Lab, led by Professor Filipe Pereira, PhD, Asgard’s Co-Founder and Head of Innovation. The research work has been supported by several translational grants, including support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 and Vinnova, the Swedish Innovation Agency.
The financing was co-led by Novo Holdings, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Industrifonden. As part of the transaction, Søren Møller (Novo Holdings), Philipp Müller (BIVF), Jonas Jendi (Industrifonden), and Filipe Pereira (Asgard Therapeutics) join as Board Directors, and João Ribas (Novo Holdings) and Fábio Rosa (Asgard Therapeutics) as Board Observers.
João Ribas, Senior Associate of Novo Seeds, commented: “We are very pleased to co-lead this financing and support the translation of the Founders’ scientific research at Lund University. While reprogramming approaches have been mainly restricted to regenerative medicine, the work of Filipe, Cristiana and their team opens exciting opportunities to merge the fields of cell reprogramming and cancer immunotherapy that can be applied to several cancers, representing a platform technology with enormous potential. We look forward to working with the Asgard team as they pioneer a new generation of cancer immunotherapy.”
Cristiana Pires, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Asgard Therapeutics, said: “At Asgard, we are committed to surpassing the challenges of current cancer immunotherapies, making them available for every patient. The support we have received from such a strong syndicate of life science investors, is a strong endorsement to the potential of our TrojanDC technology. The financing will enable us to expand our pipeline of preclinical assets and build on our commitment to making personalized cancer immunotherapies optimized to each unique patient.”