Yuhan Corporation (000100.KS; Yuhan) and Sorrento Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SRNE) announced on 2/12/19 that ImmuneOncia, a joint venture formed in September 2016, has completed a private equity financing of $40 million USD at a pre-money valuation of $95 million USD, which was led by Paratus SP (Private Equity Fund).
The proceeds of the transaction will be utilized to advance ImmuneOncia’s Phase I and II clinical studies of IMC-001, a PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, as well as to support its earlier stage programs. As a result of this financing, ImmuneOncia is expected to be sufficiently funded in preparation for an initial public offering, which is expected to occur in 2021.
This investment from Paratus SP was made in recognition of ImmuneOncia’s R&D capabilities, strong management team and its growth potential based on the market trends in the global immuno-oncology landscape.
IMC-001 is a fully human anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) immune checkpoint inhibitor. The mAb blocks the interaction of PD-L1 protein with its receptor PD-1, then suppressing the inhibition of PDL1 signal to T cells and enhancing the killing effect of T cells on tumors. This antibody also kills cancer cells through traditional antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) recruiting natural killer (NK) cells and other effector cells against the tumor and potentially further strengthening the anti-tumor effect of the antibody.
ImmuneOncia currently has five candidates in developlment. IMC-001, currently in Ph I trials is the farthest along in terms of development. The company announced in early February of this year that it has received approval to begin clinical trials for IMC-001 in South Korea.