Fundraise led by Sofinnova Partners, F-Prime Capital, Digitalis Ventures and Cambridge Innovation Capital with participation from Sanofi Ventures and the University of Cambridge Venture Fund
Unique transgenic mouse platform harnesses natural power of T cells to build a portfolio of first-in-class cancer medicines
15 November 2023; Cambridge, England – T-Therapeutics (“the Company”), a biotechnology company developing next-generation TCR therapeutics designed to reshape the clinical landscape for cancer patients, today announces it has raised £48 million ($59 million) in a Series A financing led by Sofinnova Partners, F-Prime Capital, Digitalis Ventures and Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) with participation from Sanofi Ventures and the University of Cambridge Venture Fund. The proceeds will be used to discover and develop novel T cell receptor (TCR) therapeutics for cancer indications as well as inflammatory disorders. Concurrent with the financing, Graziano Seghezzi (Sofinnova Partners), Nihal Sinha (F-Prime), Samuel Bjork (Digitalis) and Robert Tansley (CIC) have joined the Company’s Board of Directors.
T-Therapeutics, which was spun out of the University of Cambridge, has developed a proprietary transgenic mouse platform, OpTiMus®, which creates an almost unlimited repertoire of ‘optimal’ TCRs as building blocks for pioneering therapies.
Initially, these treatments are being designed to recognise specific cancers and recruit the patient’s own T cells to eradicate the tumour. T-Therapeutics is building a portfolio of transformational TCR-based medicines for cancer, addressing the limitations of current TCR therapies which only apply to certain cancers and lack specificity, leading to significant side effects. T-Therapeutics will also develop medicines which address various auto-immune disorders.
The team at T-Therapeutics includes highly experienced antibody engineers and drug developers who were responsible for the creation of the Kymab and PetMedix antibody discovery platforms and pipelines among other notable discoveries, including at Adaptimmune and GSK. Of note, Kymab was acquired by Sanofi in 2021 for $1.45 billion and PetMedix was acquired by Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company, in September this year.
Professor Allan Bradley, CEO of T-Therapeutics, commented:
“We’re delighted to have raised this Series A with such high-quality investors whose amazing networks and shared vision will help us deliver highly differentiated TCR cancer therapies. TCR therapeutics are very much at the dawn of their potential. We intend to replicate the success of therapeutic antibodies but build on this in a new dimension, by using the targeting domains of TCR receptors to take advantage of their much greater specificity for cancer cells compared to normal cells. The same logic can be used to target immunosuppressive biologics to tissues impacted by autoimmune disorders.
“By engineering a mouse that makes human TCRs, we are able to discover anti-cancer TCRs that are quantitatively and qualitatively better than those that can currently be isolated from humans or using display technologies. Our OpTiMus® platform provides an unbeatable starting point, a vast repertoire of unique, fully human TCRs, with the properties to make them ideal to develop into drugs.
“We can also use the OpTiMus® mouse with our decades of mouse genome engineering experience to better understand immune responses to TCR-based therapies, and interpret responses to other immunotherapy interventions such as T-cell engagers, checkpoint inhibitors or future therapies.”
Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said:
“Our investment in T-Therapeutics is a reflection of our conviction in both the exceptional team and the transformative technology they’ve brought forward. T-Therapeutics represents the kind of groundbreaking venture Sofinnova is deeply committed to, which has the potential to redefine healthcare. We are proud to be alongside Allan and the team as they pioneer a new era in cancer treatment.”
T-Therapeutics is a next-generation T cell receptor (TCR) company spun off from the University of Cambridge.
The company was created to harness the power of T cell biology, evolved over millions of years, to create safe and effective treatments for many cancers and autoimmune diseases.
We combine world-leading expertise in mouse genome engineering, deep expertise in biopharmaceutical drug development, single cell genomics, machine-learning and structural biology, anchored in a culture of creativity and collaboration.
We are developing ‘optimal’ TCR based therapeutics using our proprietary OpTiMus® platform, based on a fully humanized TCR mouse that provides an almost unlimited source of unique, antigen-specific human TCRs. These TCRs are directed at multiple target classes, many of which have never been worked on before. We are developing a pipeline of first-in-class drugs that will become transformative medicines, reshaping the clinical landscape for patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases.
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability.
Based in Paris, London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners is a hands-on company builder across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from seed to later-stage.
The firm actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop transformative innovations that have the potential to positively impact our collective future.
Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is a deeply established venture capital firm in Europe, with 50 years of experience backing over 500 companies and creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2.5 billion under management. For more information, please visit: sofinnovapartners.com
About F-Prime Capital
F-Prime Capital is a leading global venture capital firm investing in healthcare and technology to solve the greatest challenges in healthcare and medicine while delivering on the conviction that everyone deserves a gold standard of care.
For over 50 years and with a portfolio of nearly 300 companies and counting spread across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, our independent venture capital group combines singular and deep expertise in life science, healthcare, and technology to identify and support founders with the next big ideas in therapeutics, medtech, and healthcare IT and services.
With over $4.5 billion dollars under management, our team has created or co-created over 30 companies including Denali, Beam, Innovent, Orchard and has helped build many others including Blueprint Medicines, Iora Health, PatientPing, Devoted Health, Prime Medicine and Ultragenyx.
About Digitalis Ventures
Digitalis Ventures backs founders solving critical problems in health.
The firm invests in early-stage companies across life sciences, health technology & services, and animal health with the goal of supporting them through multiple rounds of financing. Digitalis is headquartered in New York City.
About the University of Cambridge Venture Fund
Cambridge Enterprise is responsible for supporting the translation of University of Cambridge research to create social and economic impact with global significance. We do this by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the University.
Liaising with organisations both locally and globally, we offer expert advice and support in commercialisation and social enterprise, including help with academic consultancy services, the protection, development and licensing of ideas, venture building and venture funding. Deeply embedded in the UK’s leading innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem and part of the University of Cambridge, we have strong relationships with the University, industry, investors, innovators and visionaries.
About Cambridge Innovation Capital
Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) is a leading venture investor backing and building category-leading deep tech and life sciences companies.
CIC was founded to improve the success rate of businesses originating from the University of Cambridge and the broader Cambridge ecosystem, to encourage more academics and entrepreneurs from the area to build businesses. CIC currently manages in excess of £0.5 billion and has invested in around 40 companies. CIC is a preferred investor for the University of Cambridge, Europe’s top source of founders for venture-backed start-ups.
Cambridge Innovation Capital Manager Limited (FRN:918898) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For more information, please visit www.cic.vc or follow us on X at @CIC_vc and LinkedIn.
About Sanofi Ventures
Sanofi Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Sanofi. Sanofi Ventures invests in early-stage biotech and digital health companies with innovative ideas and transformative new products and technologies of strategic interest to Sanofi.
Among these areas are oncology, immunology, rare diseases, vaccines, potential cures in other core areas of Sanofi’s business footprint, and digital health solutions.