UK biotech Immunocore has raised €116.7M in Series B funding to develop drugs that harness the body’s immune cells to fight cancer, viral infections, and autoimmune diseases.
This latest funding round for the company, which specializes in redirecting and activating T-cells, includes an international group of new investors led by the US private equity firm General Atlantic.
Other participants include Chinese investor CCB International and the venture philanthropy JDRF T1D Fund, which targets the treatment and prevention of type 1 diabetes, as well as Rock Springs Capital, Terra Magnum Capital Partners, and WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund. Five existing shareholders have also participated, including Eli Lilly and Company and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Immunocore will use the funding to develop biologic drugs for cancer based on T-cell receptor (TCR) engineering. Its lead program involves a protein called tebentafusp, which is designed to redirect and activate T-cells to recognize and kill tumor cells. The lead agent is currently undergoing a phase II trial to treat metastatic uveal melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer. The trial is expected to be completed in July this year.
Immunocore is also collaborating with Genentech on three oncology programs involving the melanoma-associated antigen A4, and with GSK on the peptide NY-ESO-1.
Additionally, Immunocore will deploy the new funding to advance internal clinical-stage programs aimed at chronic hepatitis B and preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME), which is expressed at high levels in several tumor types.
The company said it would further use the capital on its autoimmune research, notably in type 1 diabetes in association with the JDRF T1D Fund.
Anita Chakraverty is a freelance medical journalist and science communicator. Outside work, she enjoys a good movie, long walks in the local woods, and trying to get into pretzel-like yoga poses.
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