Mana Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass.-based clinical-stage company creating nonengineered, off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies that target multiple cancer antigens, raised $35m in Series A financing.
The round was was led by Cobro Ventures and Lightchain Capital, with participation from LifeSci Venture Partners and other undisclosed investors.
Mana is using its EDIFY™ platform to develop a pipeline of proprietary and partnered off-the-shelf cell therapies for cancer patients across a broad range of liquid and solid tumors, with an initial focus on relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The platform leverages natural immune system pathways to educate T-cells to target multiple cell surface and intracellular tumor-associated antigens. The multi-antigen targeting is uniquely achieved without the need for viral or non-viral delivery systems or genetic modifications.
The company was founded based on the research and human proof-of-concept clinical trials conducted by Catherine Bollard, M.D., MBChB and her team at Children’s National Hospital (CNH) along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. The initial CNH and Hopkins-led clinical trials in solid and hematologic tumors supported a strong safety profile, showed immunological anti-tumor activity and validated MANA’s initial set of tumor antigens. The product candidates used in these trials formed the basis of the Phase 1 candidate, MANA-312, an allogeneic donor-derived cell therapy for the treatment of AML in the relapsed/refractory post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) setting, and MANA-412, a preclinical off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy being developed for the treatment of transplant-ineligible AML and solid tumors.
Marc Cohen, Co-founder of Cobro Ventures, is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of MANA Therapeutics. Martin Silverstein, M.D., is President and CEO. As part of the financing, Drew Dennison of Lightchain Capital has joined the MANA Board of Directors.