04.05.2012 - Newly founded Iteos Therapeutics SA closed its Series A financing round, worth €9m, for the development of immunmodulators for cancer therapy.
Louvain-La-Neuve – Belgian Iteos Therapeutics SA is a joint spin-off of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) and the de Duve Institute at the Université Catholique de Louvain. The company raised €3m from LICR, Hunza Ventures SCA, Life Science Research Partners, Vives Louvain Technology Fund and several business angels. Additionally, it received a non-dilutive €6m grant from Belgian Walloon Government in December 2011.
The field of cancer immunotherapy has come to the fore in the last two years with the approval of drugs and vaccines that harness the power of the immune system to treat cancer patients more safely, efficiently and effectively. However, therapeutic uses of these treatments can be limited, as the tumours often develop mechanisms that enable them to escape the immune system.
Iteos strives to develop small-molecule immunomodulators that can increase the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, as well as leverage the spontaneous anti-tumour immune response. "Effective immunotherapy treatments enable the body's immune system to re-engage in destroying tumour cells, thereby potentially creating better patient outcomes with fewer side effects when compared to conventional cancer treatments", said Iteos’ co-founder Benoît Van den Eynde. He announced that the new company will try to reach a proof of concept in humans by completing a Phase I/IIa study for the first compound programme and to submit an Investigational New Drug application for a second candidate within four years.
Currently iTeos, which is a semi-virtual company, has initially received exclusive rights to its three targets from the LICR and has an option to receive rights to future targets discovered by LICR.
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