Immuno-oncology company Nouscom has extended a Series C financing round to raise $82m (€75.8m) as it looks to advance its pipeline of personalised and off-the-shelf cancer vaccines.

An additional $7.6m was added from Italian venture capital firm Angelini Ventures, joining the round which was first announced in November 2023.

The oversubscribed round adds to a Series B round that brought in $49m in November 2017.

Switzerland-based Nouscom will use the funds to advance and expand its cancer vaccine clinical pipeline, according to a 21 March press release by Angelini.

The company’s most advanced asset is NOUS-209, an off-the-shelf vaccine for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with mismatch repair/microsatellite instability. The vaccine is currently being tested in a Phase I/II trial (NCT04041310) in combination with MSD’s blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab). The trial is estimated to enrol 115 participants and has a primary endpoint of overall response rate over 18 months.

Also in line to benefit from the funds are two of Nouscom’s Phase Ib trials. One of these trials (NCT05078866) is testing NOUS-209 as a monotherapy in Lynch Syndrome (LS) carriers, who have a higher risk of developing cancer. NOUS-209 is being evaluated to intercept, prevent, or delay cancer according to the company.

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Nouscom’s other first-in-human Phase Ib trial (NCT04990479) is investigating its personalised cancer immunotherapy, NOUS-PEV, in combination again with Keytruda. The raised funds will also be used for Phase II trials evaluating NOUS-PEV in conditions with unmet needs.

Nouscom’s platform has caught the eye of big players in the pharma industry. Janssen has a multi-year collaboration deal with the Swiss company, announced in May 2022. An off-the-shelf vaccine – VAC85135, which Janssen licensed from Nouscom – is currently in a Phase I trial (NCT05444530). The vaccine is being evaluated in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab) for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Cancer vaccines are gaining traction in the pharma industry following a period of stagnation. BioNTech’s personalised RNA vaccine for pancreatic cancer reignited buzz around the therapies, which have been shown to have high efficacy. Several milestones for the space occurred in 2023, ranging from Phase III trials to multi-billion dollar deals.

Sales of immuno-oncology products, which include cancer vaccines, are forecast to exceed $150bn in sales by 2028, according to a report from GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Centre. However, checkpoint modulators and cell therapies are expected to contribute most to the market’s growth.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.