Elicera Therapeutics has announced that it has completed its first share issue and secured SEK 13.2 million in financing.
The company is based on research by professor Magnus Essand’s research group at Uppsala University and will focus on CAR T-cells and oncolytic viruses.
“In the CAR T-cell space, we have two drug candidates under development against both solid and non-solid tumors. The unmet medical need in non-solid tumors is less than in solid tumors as there have been two CAR T-cell therapies approved for different non-solid indications, with curative potential,” says Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO of Elicera.
“However, the CAR T-cell space is still relatively young and we need more time before we can say how effective these treatments are long term. Also, recent studies show that despite the very high response rates in non-solid tumors with CAR T-cells, including large numbers of complete responders, around 50% of patients treated with CAR T-cells either relapse or are resistant. Our CAR T-cells in non-solid tumors are directed towards CD20, not CD19, which the two approved CAR T-cell therapies are targeting, and can thus offer a complementary treatment. In addition, our CAR T-cells in both solid and non-solid tumors have been genetically engineered to trigger an immune response based on CD8+ T-cells, targeting the whole set of tumor antigens, not just the CAR T-cell target,” El-Mosleh adds.
An oncolytic virus for treatment of neuroendocrine tumors/NET
The company’s most advanced product, AdVince, is an oncolytic virus for treatment of neuroendocrine tumors/NET, a rare cancer with many treatment alternatives but still also with a great unmet clinical need.
“So far, only few immuno-oncology drugs have been tested in this indication and our oncolytic virus is the only one being developed in NET as far as we know. Data from our ongoing phase I/II-study has shown promising response data already,” says El-Mosleh.
“Our strategy is to partner with leading oncology companies to find the most optimal combination therapies and to complete late stage development and market cancer immunotherapies with curative potential.”
Thanks to financial contribution from Cancerfonden, Elicera now aims to start GMP production of CAR T-cells before a clinical trial (planned to start during 2022) for treatment of blood cancer.
“Our strategy is to partner with leading oncology companies to find the most optimal combination therapies and to complete late stage development and market cancer immunotherapies with curative potential,” El-Mosleh says. “In 5-10 years we plan on being in late stage development with the drug candidates in our current product portfolio, together with an industrial partner, but also plan to have expanded the portfolio with new cell and gene therapies under development.”
Above photo of Magnus Essand and Di Yu, Uppsala University, the researchers behind Elicera