Engimmune Therapeutics raises CHF 15.5 million in seed financing to develop novel T-cell receptor therapeutics

  • Financing co-led by Pureos Bioventures and Novo Holdings with incubation from BaseLaunch
  • Proceeds will be used to develop next-generation T-cell receptor-based therapies for cancer treatment
  • TCR therapy pioneer and industry veteran Dr Bent Jakobsen appointed as Chairman of the Board

BASEL, Switzerland I May 3, 2022 I Engimmune Therapeutics AG ("Engimmune"), a Swiss biotech company developing novel T-cell receptor (TCR)-based therapeutics, announced today the completion of a CHF 15.5 million (EUR 15.2 m / USD 16.7 m) seed financing round, co-led by Pureos Bioventures and Novo Holdings.

Engimmune is a platform company using cutting-edge technologies to engineer highly potent and specific TCR-based therapies for cancer treatment. By combining genome editing, functional screening, deep sequencing and machine learning, Engimmune addresses major efficacy and safety challenges that currently limit the full potential of TCR-T cell and soluble TCR therapies. Engimmune's lead products are focused on oncology, with potential to expand to autoimmune diseases in the future.

Engimmune is a spinout from the lab of Prof Sai Reddy at ETH Zurich and Dr Rodrigo Vazquez-Lombardi, co-inventor of the company's platform technologies, who is now its Chief Scientific Officer. The company was initially incubated and financed through BaseLaunch, a Switzerland-based incubator and accelerator. The seed round is funded by Pureos Bioventures, a Swiss venture capital fund investing in innovative drug development companies and Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment and company creation team of Novo Holdings.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to further build Engimmune's pipeline, expand the research team in Switzerland and build a foothold in Denmark, with a focus on GMP-certified manufacturing, clinical development, and regulatory affairs.

The Company also announces the appointment of TCR pioneer and industry veteran Dr Bent Jakobsen as Chairman of the Board. Former chief scientist and co-founder of Immunocore, a soluble TCR therapeutics company, and Adaptimmune, an adoptive TCR-T cell therapy company, Dr Jakobsen is a global expert in the field of T cell immunology. As part of the transaction, Dominik Escher and Jørgen Søberg Petersen join as Board Directors, and Ximing Ding and João Ribas join as Observers.

Søren Mouritsen, Chief Executive Officer at Engimmune, said: "We are very excited to welcome Pureos Bioventures and Novo Holdings to Engimmune, as well as Dr Bent Jakobsen to the Board with his unique track record in TCR therapeutics. The longstanding support from BaseLaunch together with these industry-leading investors and the in-depth expertise of Bent gives Engimmune the standing to become a leading contributor to this competitive yet promising space. Engimmune, with our groundbreaking technology platforms, is well-positioned to develop next-generation TCR therapeutics that are poised to become future breakthrough cancer treatments."

Dominik Escher, Managing Partner at Pureos Bioventures, said: "We have been following the company since inception, playing a key role in its founding, and were impressed with the progress achieved in such a short period of time. We are very glad to co-lead and support Engimmune and we believe its state-of-the-art technologies offer great promise to discover and develop safer, more potent and affordable TCR-T cell therapies, an increasingly important tool in the fight against cancer."

Jørgen Søberg Petersen, Partner at Novo Holdings, said: "We are truly excited about the prospect of Engimmune's innovative molecular and cellular engineering platforms to develop a new generation of pioneering TCR therapeutics against solid tumours and potentially also autoimmunity. Anchored around unique and powerful technology platforms, we want Engimmune to tap into the top biotech hubs to attract the best scientists, developers and investors to build a well-differentiated company with the potential to disrupt solid tumour therapy."

Stephan Emmerth, Director at BaseLaunch, said: "It was a real privilege to work alongside the team at Engimmune to help build the company from scratch. We are deeply impressed by their quality, speed and rigor in getting the company to this stage. And we are tremendously excited to see the company closing the seed financing with such a remarkable group of investors. This will enable them to continue developing their pioneering technology platforms to deliver truly differentiated TCR therapeutics."

About Engimmune Therapeutics AG

Engimmune Therapeutics is a technology platform and product-based company using cutting-edge technologies to engineer highly potent and specific T cell receptor (TCR) therapies. By applying proprietary platform technologies combining genome editing, functional high-throughput screening, deep sequencing and machine learning, Engimmune addresses key efficacy and safety challenges that currently limit the full potential of TCR-T cell and soluble TCR therapeutics. Spinning out from ETH Zurich and with support from BaseLaunch, the Swiss life sciences incubator, the Company raised a CHF 15.5 million seed series from leading biotech investors, Pureos Bioventures and Novo Holdings. For more information, please visit www.engimmune.com.

About Pureos Bioventures

Pureos Bioventures is a Swiss venture capital fund, which invests exclusively in private innovative drug development companies, with a special emphasis on the next generation of biological drugs and drug formats. The fund's portfolio companies are built on scientific excellence to develop therapies across a broad indication spectrum including oncology, immunology, ophthalmology, rare diseases, and neuroscience. Pureos has built a team with deep investment, operating and clinical expertise, that strives to impact patients' lives by advancing innovative treatments for devastating diseases. For more information visit www.pureosbio.com

About Novo Holdings A/S

Novo Holdings A/S is a private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, and is responsible for managing the Novo Nordisk Foundation's assets.

Novo Holdings is recognised as a leading international life science investor, with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life science investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. Further information: www.novoholdings.dk.

About BaseLaunch

BaseLaunch is the Basel Area-based incubator and accelerator that helps scientists and entrepreneurs launch exceptional biotech companies. BaseLaunch helps build companies from inception through to Series A funding, providing financing and supporting all aspects of business development. Since 2018, BaseLaunch-supported ventures have raised in total over USD 450 million. BaseLaunch partners with Roche, Pureos Bioventures, Roivant Sciences, Bridge Bioventures, CSL Behring, Johnson & Johnson and CMS, which also feed into the pool out of which BaseLaunch funds ventures. Operationally run and financed by Basel Area Business & Innovation, its Domain partners include KPMG, SpiroChem, Vossius & Partner, Walder Wyss attorneys at law, WuXi AppTec, Alloy Therapeutics as well as the Technology Park Basel and the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area. Harnessing Basel Area's unique position as a global life sciences hub, as well as its rising popularity among investors, BaseLaunch is looking to attract the next generation of breakthrough companies and is now open for applications. Further information: www.baselaunch.ch

SOURCE: Engimmune Therapeutics

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