ST. LOUIS, MO and BRISBANE, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 16, 2016) - Tioma Therapeutics, Inc., a venture-stage biopharmaceutical company developing anti-CD47 antibodies for the treatment of solid and hematologic cancers, today announced it has raised $86 million in Series A venture financing. Proceeds from this financing will be used to further develop Tioma's antibody portfolio, including its lead drug candidate -- an anti-CD47 immune checkpoint inhibitor -- through advanced proof-of-concept in human clinical trials.
The Series A financing was co-led by RiverVest Venture Partners (including 3x5 RiverVest Fund), Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and S.R. One, Limited (the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline). Pursuant to this financing, John McKearn, PhD, of RiverVest Venture Partners, Peter Moldt, PhD, of Novo Ventures, Carole Nuechterlein of Roche Venture Fund and Jill Carroll of S.R. One will serve on the company's board of directors, with Dr. McKearn serving as Chairman of the Board.
"We find CD47 to be an extremely interesting target in the evolving cancer immunotherapy landscape," said Peter Moldt, PhD, Partner at Novo Ventures. "We believe Tioma Therapeutics, with its portfolio of diverse, functionally heterogeneous antibodies, is well positioned to test the CD47 hypothesis in the clinic."
The company also announced today that John Donovan will lead the Tioma executive management team as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors. John has more than two decades of industry experience, first as an investment banker and then as a member of senior leadership within several biotechnology companies. Most recently, he was a co-founder of Alios BioPharma and served as its Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer through its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson.
"We are delighted to have John's strong leadership skills, extensive corporate strategy experience and financial expertise to guide Tioma's management team during this new phase of the company's development," commented John McKearn, PhD, Managing Partner, RiverVest Venture Partners.
"We're pleased by the degree of investor interest in this financing and thrilled to have enabled the advancement of our therapeutic antibodies well into clinical development," stated John Donovan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tioma Therapeutics. "We're particularly excited by the prospect of using these compounds in combination with other therapeutic agents, such as PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors. We believe we have the ability to meaningfully improve outcomes for patients suffering from a variety of debilitating cancers."
About Immunotherapy and CD47
There are two distinct but interdependent arms of the immune system that work in concert to recognize cancer cells and destroy them. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses are capable of recognizing and destroying cancer cells but tumors evolve mechanisms to evade them.
Immunotherapy is intended to "wake" the immune system so that it can recognize and destroy cancer cells. Currently approved immuno-oncology therapies have been effective in a subset of patients despite harnessing only the adaptive immune response. Anti-CD47 antibodies have the potential to promote coordination by the innate and adaptive immune systems with both acting in concert to attack tumors.
About Tioma Therapeutics, Inc.
The company was founded as Vasculox, Inc., by scientific founders including William A. Frazier, PhD, professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Frazier was instrumental in the discovery that CD47 is a receptor for thrombospondin-1 and he has been a leader in the field of CD47-mediated signaling pathways for many years. Tioma maintains its research laboratories in St. Louis and a corporate office in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company has generated a portfolio of anti-CD47 antibodies that have the potential to surmount multiple checkpoints by which cancer evades the immune system. These antibodies are protected by a strong, multilayered intellectual property estate that includes composition-of-matter and uses of humanized anti-CD47 antibodies. For more information, please visit www.tiomatherapeutics.com.