IMMUNOSCAPE, a Singapore-headquartered biotech, has raised US$14 million in fresh funding led by its existing investor Anzu Partners, the company announced on Wednesday (Sept 21).
The round was joined by new investor Amgen Ventures, the corporate venture arm of pharma giant Amgen, and EDBI, the investment arm of Singapore's Economic Development Board.
With origins from Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), ImmunoScape specialises in the discovery of T-cell receptor (TCR) therapeutics, where immune cells known as T-cells are modified to target cancer cells. It operates in Singapore and San Diego.
ImmunoScape's proprietary "Deep Immunomics" platform enables the discovery and characterisation of rare T-cells specific to certain cancers at high resolution. It can simultaneously evaluate tens of millions of T-cells in blood samples from hundreds of cancer patients, to identify the clinically relevant T-cell clones, and therefore build up a portfolio of TCR therapies.
"We have made significant strides in our discovery program and have identified several compelling clinical TCR candidates using our Deep Immunomics platform," said Ng Choon Peng, CEO of ImmunoScape.
"The new funding will allow us to expedite our development efforts and help us to advance our therapeutic candidates toward the clinic."
Philip Tagari, Amgen's vice-president of research for therapeutic discovery, said that the startup's Deep Immunomics and machine learning platforms have the potential to develop the next generation of innovative medicines.
Anzu Partners' managing partner David Michael described ImmunoScape as a "global pioneer" in TCR discovery, with its platform having "unprecedented capacity to test millions of human T-cells against hundreds of cancer antigens", or molecules that induce an immune response in the body.