2021-11-22| Funding

Taiwan’s Acepodia Closes $100 Million Series C to Accelerate Cancer Assets

by Joy Lin
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Taiwan-US biotech, Acepodia has announced raising $100 million in a Series C financing round and plans to use the proceeds to push two off-the-shelf cell therapies into clinical trials. The latest funding follows a successful Series B round of $47 million that Acepodia bagged in March early this year.

Founded in 2017, Acepodia is based in the San Francisco Bay area, with a branch in Taipei. The company seeks to differentiate itself from other competitors in cell therapy by conjugating antibodies with natural killer (NK) cells or T cells. The approach, which Acepodia calls “antibody cell conjugation”, or ACC, will allow engineered cells to target and eliminate cancer with greater efficiency.

The two cell therapies in question are ACE1702, a HER2-targeting treatment for solid tumors (e.g., endometrial cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer), and ACE1831, CD20-targeting treatment for hematological cancer (e.g., diffuse large B-cell lymphoma).

Related Article: New Research on Neoantigens and Tumor-targeting T-cells Marks Paradigm Shift in Countering Solid Tumors

The Series C round was led by Samuel Chen, a major shareholder of Polaris Pharmaceuticals. Many institutional investors, as well as Acepodia’s Series B investors, also joined the funding.

With the latest round, Acepodia has raised over $150 million this year. According to the company, their major shareholders consist of venture capitals and institutional investors across Taiwan and the US, including Foxconn founder Terry Gou, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang and Polaris early investor Samuel Chen.

“As Acepodia attracts new talent and funding, we deepen our research capabilities and innovation,” said Patrick Y. Yang, the CEO of Acepodia. “Using our proprietary platform for conjugating cells with antibodies, we are able to create cell therapies that target cancers more efficiently. We look forward to making use of the resources in the US and Taiwan to advance clinical drug development and become a world-leading company in cell therapy.”

Related Article: Considering Manufacturing and Commercial Advantages, Poseida Makes Strategic Shift Towards Allogeneic CAR-T Products


Acepodia’s Anticancer Cell Therapies

In September, Acepodia presented results of a Phase 1 trial of ACE1702 at the European Society of Medical Oncology annual meeting, with a final readout estimated in the second quarter of 2022. Rights to ACE1702 have been given to JW Pharmaceuticals for development and commercialization in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

On the other hand, the IND for ACE1831 has been submitted to the FDA, with approval for clinical trials expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Besides the two products, Acepodia expects to use the remaining proceeds on new drug development, with a goal to get three new drugs into clinical trials in three years. Acepodia has also begun a research collaboration with Merck this year as part of its ongoing efforts to partner with major pharma.

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