IO Biotech today announced the successful completion of a ?11 million Series A financing round. Participants were new investor Lundbeckfonden as well as existing investor Novo A/S.
IO Biotech develops novel therapeutic immuno-oncology vaccines targeting immune check point inhibitory targets to treat cancer. IO Biotech is focused on unlocking the full potential of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Check point vaccines have a unique dual mode of action leading to simultaneous activation of anti-cancer immune responses and direct killing of tumor cells in contrast to known check point inhibitors in clinical use. By leveraging the ability of the natural immune system to fight cancer, the pipeline of IO Biotech has the potential to significantly provide novel effective treatments to the benefit of patients in need.
In two first-in-man clinical trials, the company’s lead IDO targeting check point vaccines, was shown to be safe and induce the desired immune responses. In a study in 15 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, IO Biotech’s vaccine led to increased overall survival and in one patient tumor regression was observed while on treatment. Based on these promising data, IO Biotech is planning a clinical phase I/II trial in NSCLC.
An experienced group of clinical, scientific and biotech executives founded IO Biotech in December 2014. The research group of the leading founder, Professor Mads Hald Andersen has discovered and characterized a number of novel check point vaccines which are under development at IO Biotech. In addition, Professor Inge Marie Svane, founder and director of Center for Cancer Immune Therapy at Herlev University Hospital, Denmark and Dr. Kapil Dhingra, an experienced non-executive biotech director will serve as advisors to the company.
With the closing of the financing round, Christian Elling of Lundbeckfond Emerge will join IO Biotech’s Board of Directors as representative for Lundbeckfonden. Stephan Christgau from Novo Seeds, who has been observer on the Board of Directors, will replace Nanna Lüneborg as representative of Novo A/S.
The recent advances in immuno-oncology has illustrated the great potential of the immune system to fight back against cancer. IO Biotech is founded on a very strong scientific track record of the founders in immuno-oncology. Their work provides compelling evidence for the proposed cancer vaccines to offer important new treatments for cancer patients that will complement existing treatments” said Christian Elling.
“I have been delighted to follow IO Biotech since the inception of the company one year ago, and I am looking forward to the future collaboration with the company and our new co-investor, Lundbeckfonden” said Stephan Christgau, Novo Seeds. “IO Biotech has during the past year progressed well to develop an innovative new cancer treatment based on the pioneering discoveries of the team at Center for Cancer Immune Therapy at Herlev University Hospital. With this financing we will enable the company to proceed development of its lead candidate vaccine”.
“”We are very excited to secure the financing necessary to advance our important vaccines into clinical phase I/II. During the first year of the company’s existence, we have validated the overall concept, obtained further important clinical data and solidified our patent position. Expanding our investor syndicate has been a key goal for us, and we are happy to have Lundbeckfonden join, as they bring both experience and vision to the company”” said Mai-Britt Zocca, CEO of IO Biotech.
Lundbeckfond Emerge is the early stage investment unit of Lundbeckfonden. Lundbeckfonden is an active industrial foundation. The main objective is to maintain and expand the activities of the Lundbeck Group, and to provide financial support for research of the highest quality within biomedical and health sciences. The latter is given in the form of grants and through commercial investments. Lundbeckfonden is the majority shareholder in three large Danish companies: Lundbeck, ALK and Falck. In addition, Lundbeckfonden owns a portfolio of securities managed by Lundbeckfond Invest, and a portfolio of biotech investments managed by Lundbeckfond Emerge and Ventures. For more information, visit www.lundbeckfonden.com
Novo Seeds is the early stage investment unit of Novo A/S. Novo A/S is a Danish private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the holding company of the Novo Group and as such the majority shareholder in the publicly listed companies Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S. Novo A/S provides seed, venture and growth capital to development stage companies within life science and biotechnology, as well as manages a broad portfolio of financial assets. For more information, visit www.novo.dk
IO Biotech ApS
IO Biotech is an immuno-oncology company, focused on the development of vaccine based cancer treatments. IO Biotech is a spin-out from Center for Cancer Immune Therapy at Herlev Hospital. The company is located at COBIS Science Park in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more information, visit www.iobiotech.com
For further information, please contact:
Mai-Britt Zocca CEO
Tel: +45 2194 7856