Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, MA-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel approaches for cancer immunotherapy, raised $20m Series A financing.
Backers included Sofinnova Ventures and venBio.
The company intends to use the funds to develop CYT003 in the field of oncology and to advance additional generations of oligonucleotide-based products in the field of immuno-oncology.
Led by Art Krieg, CEO, who discovered CpG DNA in 1994, Checkmate Pharmaceuticals is pursuing a novel approach to specifically activating the innate arm of the immune system to recognize and destroy tumor cells. The company is now validating an approach that will combine the ability of CpG DNA to activate an anti-tumor T cell response with checkpoint inhibition to overcome a tumor’s ability to mute the immune response.
It has exclusively licensed a clinically validated virus-like particle (VLP) platform from Cytos Biotechnology Ltd (SIX:CYTN) for the field of oncology, that includes the clinical product (CYT003) and technologies related to oligonucleotide synthesis and VLP delivery.
CYT003 is a product derived from the CpG class of oligonucleotides that activates the immune system via Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and has the potential to improve efficacy outcomes and broaden the size of the populations that can benefit from checkpoint inhibitor therapies.