Integrated cancer biotech Infinitopes secures £12.8m seed financing to enhance its Precision Immunomics™ antigen discovery technologies to target five more cancers

Funding also supports the start of phase I/IIa study for lead vaccine, ITOP1

OXFORD, England, May 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Infinitopes Precision Immunomics, an integrated cancer biotech combining world leading platforms in precision antigen discovery with vaccine vectors capable of durably stimulating protective immune responses, today announced the completion of a £12.8m seed funding round led by Octopus Ventures.  The round was heavily oversubscribed, also drawing in funds from Cancer Research Horizons, Cancer Research Institute, CRIS Cancer Foundation, Kindred Capital, Manta Ray, Martlet Capital, Meltwind Advisory, Saras Capital, Wilbe Capital, and expert angel investors. The total funds raised combine new equity investment and a prestigious non-dilutive award from Innovate UK's Future Economy Investor Partnership scheme.

Right targets, right vectors, right patients, right time

Since incorporation in 2021, Infinitopes has moved swiftly to cement its leadership position in cancer vaccines by overcoming three key challenges in the field. Firstly, using its Precision ImmunomicsTM antigen discovery technologies, the Company can identify and rank tumour signatures, without prior bias, enabling the accurate selection of novel, synergistic tumour targets. Secondly, Infinitopes continues to develop safe and effective, proprietary vector delivery systems, capable of stimulating durable T-cell responses necessary to prevent the recurrence of life-threatening cancer metastases. Finally, the Company leverages its deep knowledge of immunology, partnering with disease KOLs, in order to optimally schedule therapies to drive maximal protection for patients.

Lead phase I/IIa on schedule to begin this autumn

Infinitopes' lead asset, a novel cancer vaccine called ITOP1, is scheduled to commence a phase I/IIa study in first line cancer patients in the third quarter of 2024. This rapid transition into the clinic has become possible after receiving an Innovative Licensing & Access Pathway (ILAP) innovation passport from the UK's Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in August 2022.

Best-in-class antigen discovery

The new investment accelerates the installation of best in class, next generation LC-MS/MS mass spectrometer equipment, enhancing the company's proprietary tumour antigen discovery and computational immunobiology/AI/machine learning techniques, to identify and rank the best target combinations, to treat five more cancers.

Supported by Cancer Research UK

Infinitopes is a Cancer Research UK (CRUK)-led spinout from Oxford University, combining underlying technologies, know-how, patents and licenses that were developed with CRUK funding across the laboratories of Professor Paul Klenerman and Associate Professor Nicola Ternette, and clinical programmes led by Professor Mark Middleton.

Jonathan Kwok, CEO and co-founder of Infinitopes said:

"Since founding in September 2021, Infinitopes has established world leading capabilities to design, develop, and clinically evaluate an exciting new class of precision targeted, durable cancer vaccines. Our therapies are emerging at a time when blockbuster checkpoint inhibitors are hitting their peak, capable of preventing tumour recurrence in 30-40 per cent of patients at best. Our preclinical results suggest that our vaccines may significantly outperform them, to transform care for future cancer patients. We're excited to announce this fundraise, which enables us to pursue our uniquely integrated strategy of selecting the right targets, with the right vectors, for the right patients, at the right time in their treatment journey. We continue to seek academic and Big Pharma collaborators, smart technical investors, and passionate new hires and interns to join our mission to cure cancer."

Phil Masterson, Associate Director, Cancer Research Horizons commented:

"Infinitopes is at the forefront of the cancer vaccine revolution emerging from Covid-era technology advances. Cancer Research Horizons' investment strategy focuses on maximising patient impact – Infinitopes is empowering the immune system to fight the cancer metastases that cause 70 to 90 percent of cancer deaths through better targeting, better delivery mechanisms and better clinical trials.  We are delighted to support the building of a leading company based on innovative CRUK-funded foundational science." 

Hugo Villanueva, Octopus Ventures, said:

"At Octopus Ventures, we back the entrepreneurs who are revitalising healthcare. The Infinitopes team is a great example of this ─ their work to design, develop and clinically assess novel cancer vaccines is incredibly important, and we're delighted to support them in their work to combat cancer."

John W Cassidy, General Partner, Kindred Capital, added:

"At Kindred, we don't just invest; we partner with trailblazers who reimagine the future. Infinitopes exemplifies this spirit, weaving together scientific acumen with technological foresight to architect the next frontier in cancer care. This significant funding milestone underscores our collective commitment to empower healthcare innovation that promises not only to challenge the current paradigms but to redefine them. Infinitopes is charting a bold course towards a world where cancer is no longer a formidable foe but a conquerable condition. We are delighted to support them in this mission."

Julia Schrameier, Investor at Manta Ray, added:

"Our initial investment in Infinitopes in December 2022 was driven by our strong conviction that they were the right team at the right time to create a leading computational, proteomics-driven antigen discovery platform. Their focus on accessible, non-personalised treatments, combined with the team's deep scientific expertise and remarkable track record, distinctly set them apart from other companies in the space. After observing their impressive progress and growth over the past year, our conviction has only strengthened. Working with Jonathan and his team has been remarkable, and we are excited to follow our initial investment and continue supporting Infinitopes on its journey to cure cancer, one epitope at a time."

Infinitopes presented at the 8th Immuno Oncology Europe (London, April 23-25) and Immuno'24 (London, April 25-26) last week, and will attend the 7th European Neoantigen Summit (Amsterdam, April 29-May 1), and BioEquity (San Sebastián, May 12-14).

About Infinitopes 

Infinitopes Ltd is a soon to be clinical stage, integrated cancer biotechnology company supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the University of Oxford. The Company combines two world leading platforms, in precision antigen discovery and in high efficiency, vector delivery systems, to develop immunologically durable vaccines for use against multiple solid tumour indications. The lead vaccine candidate is expected to begin phase I/IIa trials in Q3 2024. Infinitopes has cultivated in-house talent across antigen discovery, immunology, vaccinology, oncology, biomanufacturing, trials and regulation, winning an 'Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway' (ILAP) innovation passport from the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2022. Infinitopes has also won two prestigious, maximum size nondilutive awards from Innovate UK, a Cancer Therapeutics Award (in 2022) and a Future Economy Investor Partnership (in 2023). In 2024, the company closed its £12.8 m seed financing. Since incorporation, the Infinitopes team has grown from three co-founders to 28 full time equivalents, and is now the largest tenant of Oxford University's BioEscalator Innovation Building. For more information, visit www.infinitopes.com

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