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Immatics Receives $58 Million in Financing to Develop T-Cell Receptor Based Immunotherapies

Tuebingen, Germany and Houston, Texas, October 4, 2017 – Immatics, a leading company in the field of cancer immunotherapy, today announced the completion of its Series E financing, raising $58 million.

The Series E funding was supported by existing investors including dievini Hopp Biotech holding, Wellington Partners, AT Impf GmbH and others. This latest financing was also strongly supported by new life science investors and Amgen, a world-leading biotechnology company and strategic partner of Immatics.

Immatics will use the proceeds of the Series E financing to:

  • Progress its pipeline of adoptive cell therapies in a series of clinical trials. This will include the candidates IMA101, an ACTolog® endogenous T-cell therapy, and IMA201, an ACTengine® approach, based on transducing a patient’s own T-cells to express a tumor-specific exogenous T-cell receptor (TCR) and redirecting activated T-cells to the tumor sites.
  • Continue to develop its pipeline of bispecific TCR candidates, with the aim to redirect and activate the T-cell response towards cancer cells expressing specific tumor targets.
  • Continue the discovery and validation of novel tumor targets for cancer immunotherapy, using its world-leading XPRESIDENT® technology.

Peter Chambré, Chairman of Immatics, said: “We are very pleased to have been supported in this financing by our existing shareholders and a number of major new shareholders, including Amgen, with whom the Company signed a strategic collaboration earlier this year. During the period covered by this financing we expect to receive initial patient data from the current Immatics’ IMA101 and IMA201 adoptive cell therapy clinical trials, as well as commencing trials of further ACTengine® candidates.

We also expect to demonstrate proof of principle for our novel bispecific TCR candidates that, we believe, have significant potential in this emerging field. Immatics’ adoptive cell therapies and bispecific TCR candidates are tailored to address cancer targets identified and validated using XPRESIDENT®.

Glossary

  • Antigens are foreign substances that stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies.
  • An expression vector is a kind of ferry for genes, which allows the introduction of a specific gene into a host cell (e.g. E. coli, yeast cells). Furthermore, it contains all the necessary regulatory elements for the transformation of that gene into the protein.
  • A gene is a hereditary unit which has effects on the traits and thus on the phenotype of an organism. Part on the DNA which contains genetic information for the synthesis of a protein or functional RNA (e.g. tRNA).
  • Receptors are molecules which are often located on the surface of cells and which are capable of binding with an exactly defined molecule – their ligand. The meeting of ligand and receptors can lead to a sequence of reactions in the cell.
  • The term transduction has two different meanings in a biological context: 1) The description signal transduction is used if an outer stimulus (e.g. light) is converted into a physiological signal (a neuronal impulse) and transmitted to the brain. Signal transduction also means the transmission of a signal into a cell (e.g. hormone effects). 2) In genetics, transduction means the transfer of DNA from one bacterium into another via the infection with viruses. Genetic engineering also exploits this natural process.
  • A virus is an infectious particle (no cell!) consisting of a protein envelope and a genome (DNA or RNA). To be able to reproduce it depends entirely on the metabolism of living cells of host organisms (e.g., bacteria for phages, liver cells for Hepatitis A-virus).
  • A tumour is a swelling of a tissue caused by abnormal cell growth, which can be benign or malignant. Benign tumours are local swellings, whereas malign tumours may seed off and spread into other tissues, causing secondary growths (metastases).
  • Validation is the process of verifying a thesis or a method of resolution in relation to the problem that should be solved.
  • Expression means the biosynthesis of a gene product. Usually, DNA is transcribed into mRNA and subsequently translated into proteins.
  • Computer tomography (CT) is a imaging technique to display the structures within the body. Therefore, radiograms are taken from different directions and are analysed by a computer to get a three-dimensional image.
  • T-Lymphocytes (also called: T-cells) are important cells of the immune defence (white blood cells), which recognize foreign particles (antigens) when they are bound to the surface of other cells. Together with the B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes participate in the aquired immune response, which means that they are able to respond specifically to a certain pathogen.
  • Biomolecules which can bind active agents are called targets. They can be receptors, enzymes or ion channels. If agent and target interact with each other the term agent-target-specific effect is used. The identification of targets is very important in biomedical and pharmaceutical research because a specific interaction can help to understand basic biomolecular processes. This is essential to identify new points of application.
  • A protein domain is a conserved, structurally well-defined sequence in a polypetide chain. It has a unique folding an therefore a specific function. Proteins often have several of these damains and as a whole they determine the function of the protein.

About ACTolog® T-cell therapy

The ACTolog® concept is based on the principle of endogenous T-cell therapy pioneered by Professor Cassian Yee, M.D. Unlike tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, ACTolog® T-cell products are generated from peripheral blood cells with defined target selectivity. Utilizing its proprietary antigen discovery platform XPRESIDENT®, Immatics has created a warehouse of eight cancer targets. From this warehouse, the most suitable targets for each patient’s tumor are identified by analyzing the tumor biomarkers. Up to four personalized T-cell products are then activated and manufactured for each patient by isolation and enrichment of the patient’s endogenous T-cells in vitro. Billions of such activated and specific T-cells are then re-infused into the cancer patient to attack the tumor.

About ACTengine® T-cell therapy

The ACTengine® approach is based on genetically engineering a patient’s own T-cells to express an exogenous T-cell receptor (TCR) to recognize the cancer cell targets as identified by Immatics’ XPRESIDENT® platform. ACTengine® uses high-avidity and high-specificity exogenous TCRs identified from natural, human T-cell repertoires, which are introduced by viral vectors into patients’ T-cells essentially “reprograming” these to recognize and kill the tumor cells. The engineered T-cells are then grown up and reinfused back into the patient for treatment. Patients are eligible for ACTengine® cell therapy if the target of interest is present on the patient’s tumor as demonstrated by a biomarker diagnostics test.

About XPRESIDENT® Technology

XPRESIDENT® is the most sensitive, accurate and highest-throughput technology capable of identifying targets in virtually any type of cancer. This proprietary technology provides novel, highly-specific, and safe cancer targets that are pivotal for developing a range of powerful immunotherapies with the potential to cure cancer. The cancer targets identified by XPRESIDENT® are peptides presented by human leucocyte antigen (HLA) receptors on the surface of tumor cells. Classical antibody and CAR-T therapies are restricted to cell surface proteins, which constitute only about 20-25% of all available targets on a solid tumor. XPRESIDENT® unlocks all intracellular antigens, increasing the target space by more than 4-fold.

About Bispecific TCR Molecules

Bispecific T-cell receptor (TCR) molecules are biologics that leverage the body’s immune system by redirecting and activating the T-cell response towards cancer cells expressing specific tumor targets. Immatics’ best-in-class bispecific TCR molecules are soluble fusion proteins that have two binding domains: an affinity-maturated and highly selective TCR domain that recognizes and binds to a tumor-specific peptide target presented in the context of HLA class I receptor, and a T-cell recruiting antibody domain directed against CD3 or other immuno-modulating T-cell surface proteins. The design of these novel biologics allows T-cells to become activated and attack the tumor, regardless of the T-cells’ intrinsic specificity.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/immatics-receives-58-million-in-financing-to-develop-t-cell-receptor-based-immunotherapies/