CimCure, an Amsterdam UMC-based biotech spin-off, which focuses on developing vaccine-based cancer immunotherapy, has raised over €5 million in seed funding.
The investment round was led by Dutch VC Positron Ventures and was supported by several investors with deep industry knowledge, including the investment vehicle of Tom Würdinger, professor at Amsterdam UMC.
Vaccine for humans on cards
CimCure plans to use the proceeds of this round to further advance the vaccine for phase 1-2 clinical studies in humans. Dutch vaccine CDMO Intravacc will be CimCure’s partner for the development and production of the lead compound.
Joseph Peeraer, founding partner of Positron said: “We feel privileged to be able to invest in this promising iBoost technology and vaccine-based cancer immunotherapy, which might become a real game changer in the fight against cancer. This investment in CimCure exemplifies our thesis to invest at an early stage in outstanding scientists who would like to bring a potentially groundbreaking and impactful innovation to market. Professor Griffioen’s invention may lead to a much less demanding, cheaper and more effective cancer treatment.”
Diederik Engbersen, CimCure’s CEO, said: “We are pleased with this funding round led by Positron and supported by Tom Würdinger. Our first promising findings with murine animal models and client-owned dogs have recently been published in Nature Communications, bolstering our commitment to advance our technology and therapy towards clinical trials and cancer patients globally over the coming years.”
CimCure was founded in 2016 as a spin-off of Amsterdam UMC supported by Amsterdam UMC’s TTO Innovation Exchange Amsterdam and is led by Arjan Griffioen and Diederik Engbersen with extensive experience in the biotech industry.
The Dutch company was founded to commercialise a smart, effective and safe treatment strategy against all types of solid tumors at all stages, and can be combined with conventional and state-of-the-art anti-cancer strategies.
The vaccine-based immunotherapy developed by the team has shown high effectiveness and safety, both in murine animal models and in an efficacy study in client-owned dogs with spontaneous bladder cancer.
Effective cancer treatment
CimCure develops cancer vaccines through its proprietary Immune-Boost (iBoost) technology of targeted conjugate vaccines.
Eradication of tumor blood vessels and inhibition of their growth will lead to inhibition of cancer growth. This is an attractive approach to the treatment of cancer. However, past and current angiostatic drugs are known for rapid induction of drug resistance and loss of effectiveness, due to intervention in tumor-produced growth factors or their receptors.
CimCure’s approach directly targets the tumor blood vessels, which efficiently attenuates tumor growth directly and does not induce resistance. An additional advantage of targeting blood vessels is that the barrier function of the tumor vasculature for leukocytes can be overcome.