Autolus secures US$80 million series C funding
Proceeds will be used to establish clinical proof of concept for three novel haematological cancer programs
UCL Business spinout company, Autolus Limited, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of next-generation engineered T-cell therapies, today announced that it closed on a US$80 million (£59 million) Series C financing.
New investors Cormorant Asset Management, Nextech Invest and others joined founding investor Syncona Ltd, Woodford Investment Management and Arix Bioscience in this Series C round.
The funds will enable Autolus to establish clinical proof of concept for three programs: AUTO2 in multiple myeloma, AUTO3 in diffuse large B cell lymphoma and paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and AUTO4 in T-cell lymphoma. In addition, building on its advanced cell programming technologies Autolus plans to advance its pre-clinical pipeline products for solid tumour indications, and will set up the infrastructure required for bringing a CAR-T cell therapy rapidly and successfully to market.
Dr Christian Itin, Chairman and CEO of Autolus, commented:
“We welcome our new shareholders and the continued support of our existing investors, and are looking forward to delivering on the exciting promise of our growing pipeline of engineered T cell product candidates. Since our inception three years ago, Autolus has made substantial progress with two dual targeting programs in three clinical studies, a novel program for T-cell lymphoma’s clinic ready and a unique suite of cell programming technologies established for use in haematological and solid cancers. With the new financing we are well on our way to building a premier fully integrated Oncology Company that harnesses the unique power of T cells to combat cancer.”
Bihua Chen, CEO Cormorant Asset Management, commented:
“The upcoming commercial launches of the first generation of CAR-T products herald an important advance in the treatment of cancer. We are excited to be part of a company that is poised to be at the forefront of the next revolution in this field. We are impressed by Autolus’ advanced cell programming and manufacturing capabilities, and a team which we believe has the ability to deliver the full potential of these potentially life-changing therapies in both haematological and solid cancers.”
Dr. Martin Murphy, CEO Syncona Ltd., commented:
“Autolus is delivering on world class science with a mission to build a leading oncology business. As a founding shareholder of Autolus we are excited about the remarkable potential of T-cell therapies for the treatment of patients with cancer. Unlocking that potential requires deep innovation in all areas, from cell programming to manufacturing and supply chain, in order to deliver these potentially transformative treatments to patients. Success in this space requires building a new type of biopharma business, which we are excited to be part of.”
Joe Anderson, CEO of Arix Bioscience, commented:
“CAR-T is a proven new approach and represents a substantial advance in the treatment of cancer. Autolus has the science and the team to develop the next generation of CAR-T therapies, with a differentiated technology and approach that has the potential to transform patients’ lives. Arix is privileged to be part of this and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Autolus Board and our co-investors to help achieve these goals.”
The Series C follows the £70 million Series A and B financings.
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Notes for Editors:
Autolus is a private, clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company, focused on the development and commercialisation of engineered T-cell immunotherapy products to combat cancer. Utilising its advanced cell programming and manufacturing technologies, Autolus has a pipeline of products in development for the treatment of both haematological malignancies and solid tumours. For further information please visit the Company’s website at: www.autolus.com
About Autolus’ investors:
Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on investing in and building global leaders in life science. Its vision is to deliver transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare while generating superior returns for shareholders. Syncona is aligned with two of the premium charitable funders in UK science, the Wellcome Trust, original founder of Syncona, and Cancer Research UK, both of which are significant shareholders in Syncona’s business. Syncona makes a donation of 0.3% of Net Asset Value to a range of charities each year. For further information, please visit www.synconaltd.com.
Arix Bioscience plc
Arix Bioscience plc is a global healthcare and life science company supporting medical innovation. Headquartered in London and with an office in New York, Arix Bioscience sources, finances and builds world class healthcare and life science businesses addressing medical innovation at all stages of development. Operations are supported by privileged access to breakthrough academic science and strategic relationships with leading research accelerators and global pharmaceutical companies. Arix Bioscience plc is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. For further information, please visit www.arixbioscience.com
Woodford Investment Management Ltd
Woodford Investment Management is a fast-growing asset management company built on a founding philosophy of transparency and simplicity. Launched in May 2014, the company has more than £16bn assets under management and advice. Further information can be found at: www.woodfordfunds.com
Cormorant Asset Management
Cormorant Asset Management, LLC (“Cormorant”) is a Boston based investment manager with investment focus in various stages of life-science and biotech companies, including startups, venture backed later stage rounds, crossover rounds, as well as public companies. Cormorant has a long investment horizon and utilizes a deep dive, scientific driven research approach to identify key variables in the company’s product and business model, and provides capital needed to foster company’s growth while developing products that can change people’s lives.
Nextech is a leading, global oncology investment firm that focuses on early, private-stage cancer companies. The firm is led by an entrepreneurial investment group with extensive biotech and early venture experience, working closely with a dedicated Scientific Board of oncology experts to evaluate and realize the most promising opportunities in the industry. Owing to its specialized approach and strategy, the Nextech team accesses world-class investment targets to advance validated, first-in class scientific breakthroughs for the benefit of cancer patients across the world. Previous investments include Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ:BPMC), Kura Oncology (NASDAQ:KURA), and Neon Therapeutics.