Ticaros, a Korean biotech startup specialized in CAR-T cell therapy, has raised 25 billion won ($21.48 million) in its recent series C financing round, bringing total investments to 33 billion won in the past three years.
The latest funding was led by various institutional investors such as Shinhan Venture Investment, UTC Investment, Woori Investment Bank/POSCO Technology Investment, Korea SMEs and Startups Agency.
Key individual investors include Dr. Peter Kash, a Ticaros advisor and one of the key figures behind a commercial success of Yescarta, the world`s second approved CAR-T product.
Ticaros has developed an immuno-oncology therapy to treat patients with relapsed and refractory cancer based on its proprietary platform solutions such as Converter-CAR and CLIP-CAR invented by Seoul National University scientists.
Converter-CAR increases T cell activity by converting the inhibitory signal on the surface of T cells into an activation stimulus. CLIP-CAR increases the ability to eliminate tumors by modifying the CAR construct to make more CAR-T cells bind to tumor cells.
CAR-T therapy has been hailed as a cure for cancer with only one-time treatment, but it is mainly used for blood cancer treatment. Ticaros is trying to develop a platform technology and pipeline that can be applied to various CAR-T cell therapeutics to target solid cancer.
Ticaros aims to submit an IND filing within this year to initiate Phase 1 clinical trial of TC011, a CLIP-CAR-based therapy for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
By Park Yoon-gyun and Minu Kim
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