NEW YORK – AffyImmune Therapeutics on Thursday said it has raised $30 million in a Series A funding from ORI Capital that it will use to advance its CAR T-cell therapy pipeline for solid tumors, beginning with thyroid cancer.
Elaine Yang, ORI's director, will join AffyImmune's board of directors as part of the financing.
Natick, Massachusetts-based AffyImmune will put the funds toward advancing a Phase I study of AIC1000, its lead CAR T-cell therapy for anaplastic thyroid cancer patients and refractory, poorly differentiated thyroid cancer patients who have progressed on treatment, including with surgery, radioactive iodine, chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapies. The study, which is currently enrolling patients in the US, is designed to assess the safety and feasibility of AIC1000 in 24 patients.
The firm also said it will use the raised money for further drug discovery; investigational new drug application-enabling efforts for two additional therapeutic candidates in its pipeline; and doubling its personnel, particularly in leadership and in-house discovery positions.
AffyImmune uses its CAR T-cell platform, dubbed "Tune & Track," to engineer its therapies to minimize toxicity to patients as well as increase the cells' longevity and allow for in vivo monitoring through a proprietary tracking system.
"AffyImmune's pioneering Tune & Track technology platform will address the critical challenges in CAR T drug development for solid tumors including toxicity, antigen loss, T-cell exhaustion, tumor microenvironment, and T-cell trafficking," Simone Song, ORI's founder and senior partner and chairperson of AffyImmune's board of directors, said in a statement. "The Tune & Track platform will be life-changing for cancer patients faced with a diagnosis of advanced solid tumors."