NEW YORK – T-knife Therapeutics on Monday said it has raised $110 million in a Series B financing round, which it will put toward advancing its autologous T-cell receptor therapies for cancers with high unmet medical need.
Fidelity Management and Research Company led the financing round, which also included existing investors RA Capital Management, Versant Ventures, and Andera Partners, as well as new investors LSP, Qatar Investment Authority, Casdin Capital, Sixty Degree Capital, and CaaS Capital. Karin Kleinhans, a partner at LSP, is also joining T-knife's board of directors.
Berlin and San Francisco-based T-knife will begin enrolling patients to a Phase I/II clinical study of its TK-8001 TCR therapy toward the end of this year. The trial, dubbed IMAG1NE, will enroll patients with MAGE-A1-positive cancers, including gastrointestinal, lung, gynecologic, and urogenital tumors, among others. Additionally, the firm will submit investigational new drug applications with the US Food and Drug Administration for additional pipeline products during 2022.
The TCR therapies T-knife is developing involve harvesting patients' T cells, engineering them with TCRs designed to recognize antigens expressed on cancer cells, and then expanding and reinfusing patients with the T-cells engineered to target the tumors.
The unique aspect of these therapies, according to T-knife, is the firm's process for identifying and selecting the target tumor antigens and TCRs using humanized mice that carry the full TCRαβ gene loci. The TCRs that T-knife develops in these humanized mouse models — which the firm believes to have improved specificity and affinity versus TCRs isolated from human donors — are then engineered onto a cancer patient's harvested T cells.