The Dutch Kiadis Pharma has raised €27.6M in a private placement to fund the clinical development of immune cell therapies treating blood cancer.
The money will fund phase III trials of Kiadis’ lead candidate cell therapy for blood cancer, aimed to get European approval by the end of 2019. In addition, the cash will boost the development of therapies based on cancer-hunting cells called natural killer cells. The natural killer cell therapies are being developed by Cytosen, a US biotech acquired by Kiadis earlier this year.
Kiadis’ lead candidate therapy is designed to accompany bone marrow transplants treating blood cancers such as leukemia. Patients with bone marrow transplants are normally vulnerable to infection for over six months after transplantation while the new immune system settles in. Kiadis provides the patient with donor immune T cells to fight infections while they recover.
Kiadis’ approach tackles a common problem with bone marrow transplants: the donor immune cells attacking the patient’s healthy tissues in a complication called graft versus host disease. Normally, patients need a rare matching donor or harsh chemotherapy to avoid this, but in Kiadis’ therapy, the T cells that attack the patient are removed, allowing half-matched donors from the patient’s family to safely donate bone marrow.
Currently at phase I, Cytosen’s natural killer cell therapy is similarly designed to accompany bone marrow transplants treating blood cancer. The company uses nanoparticles to stimulate donor natural killer cells in the lab and prepare them for infusion into the patient. The technology attracted the attention of Kiadis because of the big potential for combining the T cells and natural killer cell therapies into one cancer-busting mix.
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