Biotech Firm Raises $41 Million to Advance Cancer-Fighting Technologies

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A Canadian biotechnology firm has raised a sizeable Series B round. Turnstone Biologics secured $41.4 million (CAD) in financing led by OrbiMed with participation from existing investors including FACIT and Versant Ventures.

The Ottawa company is a developer of novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies. The series B capital will support completion of an ongoing Phase I/II trial, as well as fund three additional clinical programs that will start this year.

“We are taking a rapid and expansive approach to clinical development with the goals of exploiting the full potential of our platform and positioning it to most benefit patients,” said Turnstone CEO Sammy Farah, Ph.D. “There is reason to be excited about the heavily differentiated nature of our technology and the promising clinical results that have been generated to date.”

Turnstone’s platform targets tumors using a two-pronged mechanism of action, by functioning both as a tumor-destroying oncolytic agent and as an immune-stimulating vaccine directed at specific cancer antigens.

Completion of the Phase I/II monotherapy trial is expected in 2017.

“Because of its unique ability to elicit a potent T cell response and modify the tumor microenvironment, it holds great potential as both a standalone therapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibition, where we look forward to preliminary clinical data next year,” said OrbiMed Partner Rishi Gupta.

Turnstone is also advancing pipeline programs in the areas of neoantigen-based personalized cancer vaccines and new oncolytic virus development.

“We are encouraged by the rapid advancement of Turnstone’s unique Maraba platform and multiple follow on programs during the past year. We welcome the addition of OrbiMed and F-Prime who will help build on this foundation and accelerate development of the pipeline,” said Jerel Davis, Ph.D., managing director at Versant Ventures.

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