Clear cell renal cell carcinoma high mag

Germany-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm immatics biotechnologies has closed a €34m series D financing round aimed at completing the Phase III development of IMA901 vaccine for renal cancer.

The company’s existing investors such as dievini Hopp Biotech, Wellington Partners, MIG-advised funds and AT Impf have supported the funding round.

As part of the fundraising, the company will immediately receive funding of €12m under the first tranche.

The series D funding will be used to complete the development of its cancer vaccine IMA901, as well as all of its activities that are required to prepare for regulatory filings in the US and Europe.

IMA901, which consists of ten fully synthetic tumour-associated peptides (TUMAPs) representing tumour antigens relevant for renal cell cancer, is currently being studied in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial.

In the Phase III trial, the company will assess the overall survival with the new cancer vaccine in combination with sunitinib (Sutent, Pfizer), the existing standard first-line therapy, compared with sunitinib alone in patients with metastatic or locally advanced RCC.

A total of 339 patients are enrolled at sites in the US and Europe to carry out the trial, whose interim overall survival results are scheduled to be released in 2014 and final results in 2015.

"There is a clear need for novel cancer therapies that can deliver prolonged survival while maintaining a good quality of life."

Immatics CEO Paul Higham said the financing will help the company in completing the full phase III development of IMA901 and prepare regulatory submission packages for the US and Europe.

"There is a clear need for novel cancer therapies that can deliver prolonged survival while maintaining a good quality of life," Higham said.

"We remain hopeful that IMA901 will deliver a significant improvement for patients with renal cell cancer."

The peptide-based vaccine has also received orphan drug designation in the US and Europe for the treatment of RCC in HLA-A*02 positive patients.

IMA901, which has a stable, off-the-shelf formulation and robust and easily scalable manufacturing, has been designed to redirect the immune system to make it recognise and control tumours.

It is given as an active immunotherapy in cancer patients as it helps to activate the self defence mechanisms of the human body.

Image: High magnification micrograph of a clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.