CatalYm GmbH, a Munich, Germany-based biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies, closed a €50m Series B financing round.
The round was led by Vesalius Biocapital III with participation from Novartis Venture Fund (NVF), Wachstumsfonds Bayern, coparion and founding investors Forbion and BioGeneration Ventures. Representatives from Vesalius Biocapital III, NVF and Wachstumsfonds Bayern will join the Board.
Led by Dr. Manfred Ruediger, CEO, CatalYm develops monoclonal antibodies that enhance the effective infiltration of immune cells into the microenvironment of cold tumors, addressing a high unmet medical need in immuno-oncology. Its lead molecule CTL-002 was specifically designed to neutralize a tumor-produced protein called GDF-15. High concentrations of GDF-15 in the serum and tumor-microenvironment help the tumor to evade the immune system and are associated with resistance to current therapies. CTL-002 addresses three of the tumor’s immune suppressive mechanisms all involving the inhibitory effect of GDF-15 on the immunostimulatory LFA-1/ICAM-1 interaction. By neutralizing GDF-15, CTL-002 is expected to enhance infiltration of immune cells into the tumor, improve priming of T-cells by dendritic cells and improve the tumor killing by T-cells and NK-cells.
CTL-002 will be developed as a monotherapy and in combination with approved PD-1/PD-L1 antagonists in checkpoint-blocker refractory patients.
Founded with initial investments from Forbion and BGV in 2016 as a spin-off from the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg based on the innovative research work of Prof. Dr. Joerg Wischhusen. CatalYm is led by a seasoned senior executive team with substantial IO drug development as well as deal making experience and backed by international venture capital investors. The team is led by Dr. Manfred Rüdiger (CEO) and Christine Schuberth-Wagner (CSO).
The company also received financial support from the EIF via the EIB-EIF Co-investment Facility, backed by the European Union through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).