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2022-06-10| Funding

Series A Funding Successfully Wraps Up for Two Up-and-Coming Biotechs

by Reed Slater
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Emerging biotech companies Tessa Therapeutics and Synklino recently announced that they triumphantly closed their Series A financing rounds. Singapore’s Tessa Therapeutics, a clinical-stage Immuno-oncology development company, raised $126 million to further the development of two of its CD30-focused therapies. Synklino, Denmark-based biotech focused on developing therapies for chronic viral infections, raised €29.8 million to expand the development of a therapy targeting cytomegalovirus (CMV). 

 

Leveraging CD30 to Treat Lymphoma

 

CD30 is a cell membrane protein in the tumor necrosis family that is more prevalent in certain cancers. Since CD30 is a naturally occurring tumor marker, Tessa Therapeutics is designing therapies to take advantage of CD30’s natural tumor marking qualities to treat various lymphomas. 

Tessa’s lead product candidate, TT11, is an autologous CD30 CAR-T cell therapy. The autologous aspect of the product means that it harvests the patient’s own T-cells and modifies them to target cancer cells expressing the CD30 protein. TT11 is the furthest along in Tessa’s pipeline in its Phase 2 CHARIOT trial targeting Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma. The trial includes 97 patients, and the estimated primary completion date is 2025. 

Tessa is also studying TT11 as a treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in its CERTAIN Phase 1 study. That trial is actively recruiting 21 participants and is set for a completion date in 2023. 

In addition to its autologous platforms, Tessa’s TT11X is an allogeneic platform designed to leverage CD30 as a biomarker to treat lymphoma. Allogeneic differs from autologous because rather than sourcing T-cells from the patient, allogeneic platforms gather cells from external sources. 

Tessa is using allogeneic Virus-specific T-cells (VST) altered with CD30 CAR to overcome previously seen hurdles in other cell therapies. Some of these previous issues include graft vs. host disease which occurs when a host body’s cells see a donor’s cells as foreign, ensuing in an immune response that attacks the donor cells. 

TT11X is currently in the BESTA Phase 1 clinical study targeting relapsed and refractory CD30 positive lymphoma. Tessa says that TT11X has demonstrated a strong safety profile so far and has completely rid tumors in 4 of 9 patients in the study. 

Tessa’s most recent round of funding led by Polaris Partners will allow it to continue developing its immunotherapies which will hopefully one day prove viable enough to bring to market. 

Recent Article: Ultima Genomics Promises $100 Genome After Raising $600 Million

 

Overcoming Transplant Infections With Synklino

 

After raising €29.8 million in Series A financing, Synklino looks to grow its cytomegalovirus (CMV) therapy program to help treat transplantation infections. Synklino will use the Series A funding to advance its lead drug candidate, SYN002, in ex vivo and in vivo Phase 1 clinical trials to establish safety and efficacy rates and potentially expand its future pipeline. 

CMV is the common herpes virus present in most adults. While it is typically characterized as latent and not harmful to those infected, a transplant can reactivate the latent infection, causing complications in procedures like stem cell transplants. 

As stem cell transplants become more common, like Tessa’s TT11X, Synklino says that SYN002 selectively targets all infected cells, both active and latent, which provides the potential to eliminate CMV completely. Synklino also touts that the treatment will only take two weeks, providing transplant patients with the peace of mind that their procedure is less likely to lead to complications caused by CMV. 

PKA pension fund lead Synklino’s Series A funding with the help of The Danish Growth Fund and Eir Ventures. Hopefully, the €29.8 million will go far for the growing company as it wrestles with CMV treatment.

In an economic landscape that appears quite bleak going forward, it is encouraging to see companies like Tessa Therapeutics and Synklino receive funding to develop therapies that have the potential to impact lives around the globe positively. In a time of such great technological evolution, the world will be watching smaller startups like these that have the promise to flourish into great companies. 

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