Clinical stage biotechnology company Aduro BioTech has closed a $55 million Series C financing. New investor Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation joined the Morningside group and other new and existing investors in the transaction.
Aduro BioTech, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company, today announced the closing of a $55 million Series C financing. New investor Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) joined the Morningside group and other new and existing investors in the transaction.
“The financing will allow us to build on the momentum from the recent positive clinical data presented at ASCO in metastatic pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma and to expand our clinical development efforts into additional cancer types and combination therapies”
Aduro plans to use the new capital to advance its lead program in metastatic pancreatic cancer through its ongoing Phase 2b ECLIPSE clinical trial, to continue clinical development in mesothelioma and high-grade glioma, to expand into additional indications and to advance its small molecule program targeting the immunomodulatory STING receptor. The equity financing follows the company’s recent agreement facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in California, which granted Janssen Biotech, Inc. an exclusive, worldwide license to certain product candidates specifically engineered for the treatment of prostate cancer based on Aduro’s novel LADD immunotherapy platform. Since inception, Aduro has raised a total of $84 million from equity financings.
“The financing will allow us to build on the momentum from the recent positive clinical data presented at ASCO in metastatic pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma and to expand our clinical development efforts into additional cancer types and combination therapies,” said Stephen T. Isaacs, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Aduro. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide cancer patients with more effective, less toxic therapeutic alternatives through novel immunotherapies.”
“As we advance toward that goal,” added Mr. Isaacs, “we are pleased to have the continued support and confidence from Morningside and JJDC and we welcome all of our new investors.”
“Aduro’s immunotherapy platforms have the potential to transform the treatment of cancer,” said Gerald Chan, founder of Morningside. “Combining the complementary mechanisms of action of the checkpoint inhibitors with Aduro’s product candidates, which are designed to activate immunity, may make an enormous difference in the lives of cancer patients.”
Earlier this year, at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium conference, the company presented data from a Phase 2a trial in metastatic pancreatic cancer patients who failed prior therapy. The randomized, controlled, multi-center study, which enrolled 93 patients, demonstrated a statistically significant survival benefit in patients receiving the combination of GVAX Pancreas and CRS-207 cancer vaccines (Arm A) compared to GVAX Pancreas vaccine alone (Arm B). The median overall survival of the patients receiving the combination was 6.1 months compared to 3.9 months for those receiving GVAX monotherapy (HR=0.59, one-sided p=0.0172). Based on these results, the company is conducting a randomized 240 patient Phase 2b clinical trial (ECLIPSE) in metastatic pancreatic cancer patients who have progressed after at least one line of therapy. More recently, at this month’s ASCO meeting, the company presented data from a Phase 1b clinical trial of its novel immunotherapy CRS-207 in combination with standard chemotherapy in treatment-naïve patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. Of 16 evaluable patients, 69% (11/16) had confirmed partial responses (PR) and 25% (4/16) had stable disease (SD) after CRS-207 and chemotherapy, resulting in an overall disease control rate of over 94%.
LADD is Aduro’s proprietary platform of live-attenuated double-deleted Listeria monocytogenes strains that have been engineered to induce a potent innate immune response and to express tumor-associated antigens to induce tumor-specific T cell-mediated immunity.
CRS-207 is one of a family of product candidates based on Aduro’s live-attenuated, double-deleted (LADD) Listeria monocytogenes immunotherapy platform that induce a potent innate and T cell-mediated immune response. CRS-207 has been engineered to express the tumor-associated antigen mesothelin, which is over-expressed in many cancers including mesothelioma and pancreatic, non-small cell lung, ovarian and gastric cancers.
About GVAX Pancreas
GVAX Pancreas is one of a family of GVAX vaccines derived from human cancer cell lines that are genetically modified to secrete granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), an immune-stimulatory cytokine. GVAX Pancreas also expresses mesothelin.
CDNs are naturally occurring molecules that target the intracellular STING receptor, which recently emerged as a central mediator of innate immunity. Aduro is developing a series of proprietary synthetic STING-activating CDNs that have significantly higher activity than the natural STING ligands produced by bacteria and mammalian cells.
Morningside, founded in 1986, is a diversified investment company with portfolio investments in private equity and technology ventures. The group invests actively in biotech companies founded on novel science.
About Aduro BioTech, Inc.
Aduro BioTech, Inc. is a private, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on immunotherapy for cancer. Aduro has ongoing clinical trials with its LADD platform in pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma and high-grade glioma and development programs in non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. The company is also developing clinical candidates using novel small molecules that activate the intracellular STING receptor, a central mediator of the innate immune response.