TILT Biotherapeutics raises $10M to push ahead on cancer immunotherapies

cancer cells

TILT Biotherapeutics (TILT), a clinical-stage Finnish biotech company developing cancer immunotherapies, has completed the first close of its financing round, raising $10.7 million. 

It was led by Lifeline Ventures and joined by Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd).

The funding will be used to advance phase I/II programs in Europe and the U.S., using TILT-123 plus immune checkpoint inhibitors against a range of cancers including ovarian, head and neck, and lung.

Lifeline Ventures’ founding partner, Timo Ahopelto, said, “We support resilient founders. We saw early on the enormous potential in TILT’s innovative approach to boost the patient’s T cell immune response to better enable it to find and destroy cancer cells.” 

“TILT is one of the most promising biotech companies in Finland. We are excited to back the development of the company’s innovative treatments for cancer types with currently limited treatment options. Despite the enormous developments in cancer treatments over the past decade, there is still a significant need for new therapies,” said Miia Kaye, investment manager at Tesi.

Cancer therapeutics

TILT Biotherapeutics is developing cancer therapeutics based on its oncolytic adenoviruses armed with molecules including cytokines that can stimulate, or suppress, T cells. The company’s TILT technology, which can be delivered locally and systemically, modifies the tumor microenvironment, and eliminates its ability to suppress immune responses to cancer, thereby enhancing T-cell therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T therapies.

TILT’s lead asset, TILT-123, is an adenovirus armed with two human cytokines: TNF alpha and IL-2. TILT-123 has demonstrated a 100% response rate in pre-clinical cancer models in vivo, and it is currently in phase 1 clinical trials. 

Merck KGaA and Pfizer Alliance are collaborating to investigate TILT-123’s therapeutic effect in combination with the PD-L1 inhibitor, Avelumab (Bavencio), in clinical trials. TILT also has a collaboration with MSD investigating TILT-123 with Pembrolizumab (Keytruda). 

In 2019, TILT established a partnership with Biotheus, a privately held Chinese company based in Zhuhai, China, for the development and commercialization of TILT-123 in Greater China.

TILT was established in 2013 as a spin-out from the University of Helsinki.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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