Neogene Therapeutics, Inc., a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company advancing a new class of fully personalized neo-antigen T cell therapies to treat cancer, raised $110m in Series A financing.
The round was co-led by EcoR1 Capital, Jeito Capital and Syncona, with participation from Polaris Partners and Pontifax. Seed investors Vida Ventures, TPG and Two River also participated in the round.
Neogene, a Two River company, was founded in 2018 by a team of cell therapy experts to advance the development of neo-antigen T cell therapies. Carsten Linnemann, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Neogene, and Ton Schumacher, Ph.D., Principal Investigator at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Oncode Institute and 2020 recipient of the Dutch Research Council’s Stevin Award co-founded the company with individual investments by cell therapy industry veterans Arie Belldegrun, M.D. FACS, founder of Kite Pharma, Inc. and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Allogene Therapeutics, Inc. and David Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allogene. Dr. Linnemann and Dr. Schumacher previously co-founded T-Cell Factory B.V., a company acquired by Kite Pharma in 2015.
Dr. Schumacher, an internationally leading immunologist in the areas of neo-antigen biology and T cell engineering, developed the seminal concepts of Neogene’s proprietary technology.
Neogene’s platform allows for the isolation of neo-antigen specific TCR genes from tumor biopsies that are routinely obtained from cancer patients during treatment. The tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) obtained by these tumor biopsies frequently express TCRs specific for mutated proteins found in cancer cells (neo-antigens). The company’s proprietary technology uses state-of-the-art DNA sequencing, DNA synthesis and genetic screening tools to identify such neo-antigen specific T cell receptor genes within tumor biopsies with high sensitivity, specificity and at scale. The isolated TCR genes are subsequently engineered into T cells of cancer patients to provide large numbers of potent T cells for therapy.