Amcure and TILT Biotherapeutics announced yesterday new financing rounds supporting the development of unique strategies to cure cancer metastasis.
Amcure, in Germany, is fighting highly metastatic forms of cancer by targeting angiogenesis. The company just closed a Series B round with a total of €6M from already existing investors. With the funds, Amcure plans to accelerate the development of AMC303, the first 3-in-1 treatment for advanced metastatic epithelial cancers such as pancreatic, head and neck, colorectal and lung cancer.
AMC303, which started Phase I/Ib trials recently, is a peptide drug candidate that can block three oncological pathways. Although peptides tend to be unpopular because they usually are less specific than antibodies, their small size also facilitates manufacturing and administration. If AMC303 proves effective in clinical trials, it could revolutionize the treatment of metastases, which are currently a death sentence for most cancer patients.
TILT Biotherapeutics, in Finland, uses oncolytic viruses to enhance immuno-oncology strategies. The biotech just announced an extra €4M round that brings its total funding to almost €10M. The funds will be used to progress its lead candidate, TILT-123, into Phase I clinical trials.
TILT-123 is an oncolytic adenovirus engineered to express human TNFα and IL-2, cytokines that recruit and activate T-cells in the tumor. The drug candidate is expected to start trials next year in patients with metastatic melanoma; the plan is to first test the use of TILT-123 in combination with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Then, the candidate will be used to improve checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T targeting solid tumors, which are currently a huge challenge for these therapies.
After the emergence of multiple immuno-oncology strategies targeting blood cancer, new therapies targeting solid tumors seem to be building up from existing innovations to overcome some of the most pressing challenges in cancer, such as metastatic cancer. Just this week, Immunicum received FDA approval to test a therapy that could target virtually any injectable solid tumor. Meanwhile, Targovax is also exploring the use of adenovirus to boost the immune response against cancer.
Young biotechs are already bringing the hottest innovations to the clinic, it seems like it will just be a matter of years before oncology is swarming with ever more effective strategies to cure one of the most challenging diseases.
Featured image by Fascinadora/shutterstock.com; figure from TILT