Cytovation Raises $20 Million in Series A Financing Round to Advance Clinical Development of CyPep-1, a First-in-Class Targeted Tumor Membrane Immunotherapy
Cytovation AS, a clinical stage immune-oncology company focused on the development of its first-in-class targeted tumor membrane immunotherapy, announces the successful closing of its Series A financing round, raising a total of NOK 180 million ($20 million).
Lars Prestegarden, MD, PhD, CEO of Cytovation, commented: “We are extremely pleased with the strong support we have received during this latest investment round. We continue to make excellent progress with CyPep-1 in our Phase I/II CICILIA clinical trial and following promising data from the first monotherapy part of the study, we have begun patient dosing of CyPep-1 in combination with Keytruda in patients with a range of solid tumors. These new proceeds will enable us to further advance and expand our clinical development plans in cancer, and we look forward to reporting further data from this clinical program in 2022. Additionally, we will now have the financial flexibility to investigate opportunities to expand our CyPep-1 development pipeline.”
The Series A round was led by Sandwater, a Norwegian venture capital firm that invests in groundbreaking companies across a range of industries including life sciences, and Canica, a large, privately owned investment company operating out of Norway and Switzerland focused on building highly innovative companies that aim to create value for investors and society as a whole.
The new funds will primarily be directed towards clinical development of Cytovation’s lead asset CyPep-1, a proprietary first-in-class targeted tumor membrane immunotherapy engineered to selectively target cancer cells. CyPep-1 eliminates cancer cells by forming pores in the plasma membrane, releasing cancer specific antigens to the immune system, promoting an inflammatory microenvironment and inducing a tumor-specific immune response by in situ vaccination. Preclinical data suggest this mode of action is highly synergistic in combination with checkpoint inhibitors.
Proceeds will be used to:
- Progress the CyPep-1 oncology program to Phase II, including expansion of single-agent arms, as well as three combination arms with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), and melanoma, in collaboration with MSD
- Explore opportunities for pipeline development with CyPep-1 targeting patients with high unmet medical need
Morten E. Iversen of Sandwater commented: “We are very pleased to be supporting Cytovation, a company that reflects our investment ethos of investing in innovative companies that we believe can make a real impact across society. We believe CyPep-1 has a very promising future, backed by an excellent and highly experienced management team.”
Christer Kjos of Canica added: “Cytovation shares our entrepreneurial approach and willingness to take on new challenges with commitment and passion. We believe the company has reached an exciting point in its development and look forward to the time when this potential new treatment can bring benefit to a wide variety of cancer patients.”
KEYTRUDA® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.