Forbion Participates in £100m Series B Financing of Achilles Therapeutics
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Rogier Rooswinkel to join the Board of Directors
Naarden, The Netherlands, and Munich, Germany, 03 September 2019 – Forbion, a leading European life science venture capital firm, today announces that it has participated in a £100 million Series B financing of Achilles Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing personalised cancer immunotherapies.
The financing was led by incoming U.S. investor RA Capital Management, cornerstoned by founding investor Syncona, and also joined by new investors, Invus, Perceptive Advisors and Redmile Group. Derek DiRocco from RA Capital Management and Rogier Rooswinkel from Forbion will join the Board of Directors.
Achilles is developing personalised T cell therapies for solid tumours targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to each patient that are present on the surface of all cancer cells. Using its PELEUS™ bioinformatics platform, Achilles can identify clonal neoantigens from each patient’s unique tumour profile which are present on every cancer cell.
Achilles uses its proprietary process to manufacture T cells, which seek to exquisitely target a specific set of clonal neoantigens in each patient. Targeting multiple clonal neoantigens that are present on all cancer cells, but not on healthy cells, reduces the risk that new mutations can induce immune evasion and therapeutic resistance, and allows individualised treatments to potentially target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissue.
“Achilles is leading the next wave of immuno-oncology drug development. We have moved from concept to clinic-ready in less than three years. We are extremely pleased to welcome this excellent group of new investors to Achilles and I would like to personally thank our existing founding investors for their continued support,” said Dr Iraj Ali, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics. “With this fundraising we have made a clear statement about the scale and nature of our ambitions to bring novel cancer therapies rapidly to patients with a high unmet medical need.”
Proceeds from this financing will deliver two human proof-of-concept studies using a unique personalised T cell therapy approach targeting clonal neoantigens in non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. These programmes are expected to enter the clinic this year. In addition, the financing will enable Achilles to continue building out its manufacturing capabilities as well as broadening its growing solid tumour pre-clinical product pipeline.
“What attracted us to Achilles was its world-class team and founders, who have a unique understanding of cancer evolution and cell therapy. In our view, Achilles is very well positioned to become a leading player in the oncology arena, by harnessing their know-how for the benefit of patients.” added Rogier Rooswinkel, Partner at Forbion.