Gilead has joined a growing list of powerful investors that want to help Hookipa Biotech develop its vaccine technology by participating in its Series C fundraising.
Hookipa Biotech, one of October’s biotechs of the week, develops vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases. Its pipeline includes two platforms: Vaxwave and TheraT, which are targeted at cytomegalovirus infections and hard-to-treat cancers, respectively. Gilead has taken part in a $60M (€50M) Series C, which was also supported by Boehringer Ingelheim and Takeda, that should help the Hookipa’s platforms through early clinical testing.
Vaxwave is based on lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, but Hookipa has switched the gene cell entry with one encoding the target antigen. The company hopes that this will allow the virus to infect dendritic cells, stimulating an immune response while removing the risk of viral replication and associated side effects. The money should see the company’s lead candidate through a Phase II trial, with a little leftover to take TheraT into Phase I. With the FDA approval of AiCuris’ Human Cytomegalovirus treatment, letermovir, in November, Hookipa has some serious competition.
Gilead seems to have an eye for technology that is destined for success, having acquired Kite Pharma’s CAR-T therapy just 6 weeks before its approval.
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