Tilt Biotherapeutics, a Helsinki, Finland-based clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies, secured an additional €6.2m in funding.
The round included €4.5m equity featuring a €0.5m convertible loan and a long-term Government loan from Business Finland of up to €1.7m. Since its formation in 2013, the company has secured €17.5m of funding with investors including Lifeline Ventures and Finnish private investors as well as the European Innovation Council, and Business Finland. In addition, Tilt has also secured additional payments through a collaboration with Biotheus for licensing rights to TILT-123 in Greater China.
The company intends to use the funds to advance its proprietary cytokine armed oncolytic adenovirus, TILT-123, into Phase 1 clinical trials in Europe and the United States, and to prepare for Phase 2 trials. TILT-123 has completed GLP preclinical studies and CMC for Phase 1 studies. These studies are planned in solid tumors as TILT-123 monotherapy or in combination with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) or checkpoint inhibitors. Tilt will also use the funding to develop an innovative production process to scale up GMP manufacturing.
Established in 2013 as a spin-out from the University of Helsinki, and led by CEO Akseli Hemminki, a biotech entrepreneur and cancer clinician who has personally treated almost 300 patients with ten different oncolytic viruses, Tilt is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer therapeutics based on its proprietary oncolytic adenoviruses armed with molecules including cytokines that can stimulate, or suppress, T cells. The company’s patented TILT® technology, which can be delivered locally and systemically, modifies the tumor microenvironment and eliminates its ability to suppress immune responses to cancer, thereby enhancing T-cell therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T therapies. Its lead asset, TILT-123, is a 5/3 chimeric serotype adenovirus armed with two human cytokines; TNF alpha and IL-2.
The approach has been recognized by industry leaders including Germany’s Merck KGaA and the USA’s Pfizer, who are collaborating to investigate TILT-123’s therapeutic effect in combination with the PD-L1 inhibitor, Avelumab (Bavencio®), in clinical trials.
In 2019, Tilt established an additional partnership with Biotheus, a privately held Chinese company based in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, for the development and commercialization of TILT’s proprietary oncolytic virus TILT-123 in Greater China.
The company also announced two new appointments to its board of directors, Kenneth Forssell, an entrepreneurial leader with over 25 years’ experience in global pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including GSK, and Pekka Mattila, co-founder and CEO of Desentum Oy. In addition, Jyrki Liljeroos has been appointed to an advisory role for the board of directors.