Forty Seven Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, completed the first half of a committed $75m Series A funding round.
The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures with participation from Clarus Ventures and GV (formerly Google Ventures).
The company has also licensed the rights to multiple immuno-oncology programs from Stanford University. It includes rights to over 100 issued or pending U.S. or foreign patents that cover Hu5F9-G4, a humanized monoclonal antibody against human CD47 that potentially has broad applications spanning multiple tumor types and treatment modalities, and several other novel immune checkpoint inhibitors and cancer-specific antibodies.
Forty Seven will use the funds to complete the two ongoing clinical studies, fund additional clinical trials in 2016 to assess Hu5F9-G4 in combination therapy and advance some preclinical programs towards IND.
Co-founded by Irv Weissman, Ravi Majeti, Mark Chao and Jens Volkmer, and led by Jonathan MacQuitty, CEO, the company is committed to the advancement of immuno-oncology through the engagement of new and complementary phagocytic pathways that enhance anti-tumor efficacy and selectivity.
CD47 is a molecule that is overexpressed on the surface of the majority of tumors and transmits a “don’t eat me” signal, enabling cancer cells to evade phagocytosis by macrophages. The molecule was originally identified as a cancer target by researchers at Stanford. In preclinical models, Hu5F9-G4 facilitated phagocytosis and elimination of cancer cells from multiple human tumor types as a monotherapy. Additionally, when used in combination therapy, it engaged macrophages as effector cells to enhance the efficacy of cancer-specific antibodies via Antibody-Dependent Cellular Phagocytosis (ADCP). Hu5F9-G4 also could prime an effective antitumor T-cell response through cross-presentation of cancer cell antigens by macrophages, preventing engraftment of tumors expressing a cross-presented antigen into animals.
Forty Seven is also led by Craig Gibbs, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, Chris Takimoto M.D. Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer, Norm Kruse Ph.D., Chief Patent Officer, and Hassan Movahhed, M.S., VP Clinical Operations.