Appia Bio, Inc., a Los Angeles, CA-based early stage biotechnology company developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) for cancer patients, launched from stealth with $52m in Series A financing.
The round was led by 8VC with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, and seed investors Sherpa Healthcare Partners and Freeflow Ventures. As part of the Series A financing, Francisco Gimenez, PhD, partner, and David Moskowitz, PhD, principal, at 8VC, join the Company’s board of directors, and David Baltimore, PhD, of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was elected chairman of the Board.
Proceeds will be used to progress stem cell derived CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T cells (CAR-iNKT) to the clinic in hematological and solid tumor indications
Led by JJ Kang, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer, Appia Bio is focused on discovering and developing off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies across a broad array of cancer indications, utilizing a scalable technology platform with the goal to increase access for patients. With its ACUA technology platform, the company leverages the biology of lymphocyte development with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene engineering to generate CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cells from HSCs.
The platform originated from research in the laboratory of Lili Yang, PhD, associate professor at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and her collaborations with the Company’s other scientific founders.
- David Baltimore, PhD, Nobel Laureate, president emeritus and distinguished professor of biology, Caltech
- JJ Kang, PhD, CEO, Appia Bio; former partner, The Column Group
- Edmund Kim, PhD, chief operating officer of Appia Bio; former vice president of corporate development, Kite Pharma
- Pin Wang, PhD, professor of chemical engineering and materials science and biomedical engineering, University of Southern California (USC)
- Jeff Wiezorek, MD, chief medical officer, Appia Bio; former head of cell therapy development, Kite Pharma
- Lili Yang, PhD, associate professor of microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics, UCLA
Appia Bio also announced the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board, including
- Mitchell Kronenberg, PhD, president and CSO, La Jolla Institute for Immunology
- Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, UCLA, and director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Margo Roberts, PhD, former CSO, Kite Pharma and Lyell Immunopharma