Prokarium Closes $21M Series B Financing Round and Strengthens Board
Prokarium, a privately-held biotechnology company developing novel immunotherapies and vaccines based on its engineered microbial platform, today announced the closing of a Series B investment round of $21M led by Korea Investment Partners (KIP). In addition to KIP, the UK government’s Future Fund (FF), Flerie Invest and Riyadh Valley Company (RVC) also participated in the financing round.
“We are very pleased with this strong financial support and with the global networks our investors bring,” said Ted Fjallman, PhD, CEO of Prokarium. “The funds will support the development efforts of our microbial immunotherapy for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, which we plan to advance to the clinic by 2022, as well as the expansion of our pipeline across multiple solid tumours. This financing, together with our recently announced partnership with the Wellcome Trust for funding our clinical studies of Entervax, positions Prokarium well to realize the potential of our microbial immunotherapy platform.”
“KIP is delighted to lead this financing of Prokarium and to continue to invest in their team and platform” said Sangwoo Lee, Managing Director, KIP. “Prokarium’s approach of developing microbial immunotherapy that stimulates innate immunity and modulates the tumour microenvironment is very exciting and has the potential to transform cancer treatment across the world.”
In conjunction with the financing, Hyam Levitsky, MD, will join Prokarium’s Board of Directors. Hy brings over 30 years of internal medicine, oncology and immunology research experience and currently serves as the President of Research and Development at Century Therapeutics. Prior to Century, he served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Juno Therapeutics and Head of Cancer Immunology Experimental Medicine at Roche.
“I am excited to join Prokarium’s Board and to provide my scientific expertise to develop novel microbial immunotherapies” said Hyam Levitsky. “Prokarium’s bacterial strains have the potential to be potent activators of multiple innate immune pathways, harnessing intrinsic microbial properties combined with modulatory effects from cutting-edge engineering to initiate and drive a patient’s anti-tumor responses. This harbours the potential to perform both as a monotherapy or in combination with other immunotherapies.”
Prokarium also strengthens its executive team with the promotion of Kristen Albright, PharmD, to Chief Operating Officer, Livija Deban, PhD, to Vice President of Research, and the appointment of Peter McGowan, FCCA, as Chief Financial Officer.
"I am very pleased to announce these well-deserved appointments on Prokarium's executive team," said Steve Chatfield, PhD, Chairman of Prokarium. "It is critical that we have the optimal organizational structure in place to drive the continued advancement of our pipeline and the success of our company."
- Ends -
Prokarium is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing microbial cancer immunotherapies. Using the company’s leading-edge technology platform, Prokarium’s mission is to use its expertise in engineering biology and immunology to improve the lives of patients with solid tumours, with its lead oncology program expected to enter the clinic in 2022. The Company is also leveraging its platform, in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, for the phase 1 and phase 2 clinical evaluation of a combination vaccine against typhoid and paratyphoid. Prokarium is headquartered in London, UK. For more information please visit www.prokarium.com.
About Korea Investment Partners
Korea Investment Partners (KIP) is South Korea’s leading venture capital and private equity firm with over 30 years of experience investing in bold and innovative entrepreneurs who want to change the world. KIP manages over 20 venture and private equity funds with over $2.6 billion AUM. The company operates globally from its Seoul headquarters office with other locations in Shanghai, Beijing, and Sunnyvale. Notable successful life science exits include Elastagen to Allergan, Auris Health to Johnson and Johnson, as well as multiple IPOs such as ABL Bio [Kosdaq: A298380], Helixmith [Kosdaq: 084990], Qurient [Kosdaq: 115180], i-Sense [Kosdaq: 099190], HLB [Kosdaq: 028300], and PCL [Kosdaq: 241820].
About Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC)
Around 550,000 cases of bladder cancer occur every year with approximately 70% of tumours diagnosed as non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. NMIBC remains a very challenging cancer to treat with high rates of recurrence and progression associated with approved therapies. The first-line treatment is Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an attenuated tuberculosis (TB) vaccine that is instilled directly into the bladder requiring up to 27 instillations. Intravesical therapies remain the most promising route of administration; however, very little innovation has been invested to replace and improve upon BCG since its approval by the FDA in 1990. Currently there remains a severe global shortage of BCG, which leaves limited treatment options for newly diagnosed NMIBC patients.
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