Grid Therapeutics, a life science startup that recently secured rights to an antibody for cancer immunotherapy from Duke University, has landed a round of venture capital.

Longview International, Ltd., which is based in Singapore, led the investment.

The amount of the Series A round was not disclosed.

“Grid’s development program capitalizes on the innovative thinking and wealth of oncology experience possessed by the company’s management team,” said Jianli Wang of Longview International in the announcement which was made Thursday.

“Longview recognizes the enormous potential of the new therapeutic candidates being developed by Grid.”

Grid was launched by Dr. Edward F. Patz, Jr. of Duke University. He has capitalized on success with development of the licensed antibody to launch Grid.

Grida says it is “developing the first human derived targeted immunotherapy for cancer.”

The funding will be used for GT103, its lead candidate, in a Phase 1 clinical trial planned for 2019, as well as production of the antibody. It will target “solid tumors.”

“Grid Therapeutics is very excited to welcome Longview to our team, especially given Longview’s active participation in companies acclaimed for innovation in biotechnology,” said Patz. “We are confident that Longview is well positioned to help Grid advance our novel antibody to the clinic,”

Patz, an MD, and a team of scientists at Duke University Medical Center, are driving the technology.

“The antibody was discovered in exceptional outcome early stage lung cancer patients and was isolated from patient’s B-cells using state of the art molecular genomic techniques,” Grid says.

​Spotlight: Grid’s approach to fighting cancer

This infographic and accompanying summary explain Grid’s approach.

Grid Therapeutics has the exclusive, global and perpetual rights to a novel antibody against a unique target for the treatment of lung cancer with applications in multiple cancer types. The discovery was made by Edward (Ned) F. Patz, Jr., MD, and his laboratory at Duke University Medical Center. The lab used an innovative strategy that explored the host response in a distinct group of lung cancer patients with early-stage disease that never developed metastasis. It discovered a high affinity antibody against a specific tumor cell antigen that inhibits an essential tumor cell-protective protein, permitting rapid tumor cell death through activation of the complement cascade, with resultant modulation of the adaptive immune response to potentially create a long–term durable response. This antibody discovered in cancer patients had no adverse effects, and has broad therapeutic applications in oncology because the same protective mechanism is used by many solid tumors.

To generate sufficient quantities of the antibody, an innovative approach was used by taking the peripheral blood from these exceptional patients and affinity selecting specific antibody-producing B cells. Once isolated, the individual peripheral B cells were sequenced and immunoglobulin genes expressed. High affinity recombinant human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were then produced. The antibody binds a conformationally distinct epitope within a specific crucial functional domain on complement factor H (CFH) protein bound to tumor cells. The distinct epitope and functional domain have been confirmed by crystal structure analysis. The antibody’s mechanism of action is primarily complement dependent cytotoxicity, which triggers tumor cell death and modulates the adaptive immune response. The antibody has exhibited dose dependent tumor cell death as a monotherapy in multiple different tumor cell lines in vitro and in vivo mouse models.

Grid Therapeutics was formed to translate this discovery and the platform into a novel therapeutic product and treatment approach. This human derived antibody is currently being manufactured for a phase 1 clinical trial in advanced stage cancer patients.

Source: Grid Therapeutics