OneChain Immunotherapeutics (OCI), a clinical stage biotech company focused on the development of CAR-T candidates for the treatment of oncological diseases, today announced the closing of a pre-series A funding round. The transaction was led by the venture capital firm Invivo Capital, with the participation of the current investors, the Josep Carreras Leukemia Foundation and the Centre for Technological Development and Innovation, through its Innvierte Program. It has also been backed by two new investors, Nara Capital and Clave Capital.
OCI was created in June 2020 as a spin-off of the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute (IJC) in a clear commitment to bring the research of the group led by Dr. Pablo Menéndez, ICREA research professor and Principal Investigator of IJC, closer to patients. Since then, the company has managed to reach the clinic in less than three years and has strengthened its pipeline with a new allogeneic platform, a program against hematological tumors and another program against solid tumors. "Our company is a clear example of public-private collaboration for the benefit of patients," says Jorge Alemany, CEO of the company. "It is an example of how the initiative of a non-profit foundation, with the leadership of private investors and the support of the government, can benefit patients, create jobs and advance science”.
This milestone is a significant step forward for the company, which will use the funding to consolidate its product pipeline and bring its innovative solutions to the clinical stage. "It will also allow us to finalize the CARxALL trial, where our most advanced product is being evaluated," Alemany adds. OCI's approach to cancer treatment is based on CAR-T technology, which allows the genetic modification of the patient's T-cells so that they are able to recognize and destroy cancer cells. This technology, although already established in the treatment of certain leukemias and lymphomas, is pioneering in the treatment of T-type leukemias and solid tumors and constitutes a new hope for patients with limited treatment options.
"We are convinced of the enormous potential that CAR-T therapies pose for the treatment of cancer, and we strongly support the advances that OCI is making in this field," says Laura Rodriguez, principal at Invivo and board member of OneChain. "The company is a clear example of technology transfer in advanced therapies, which has managed to take its first product from research to clinical trial in less than three years," she adds.
The participation of new investors in the financing round is also a reflection of this success, as they not only strengthen the company's financial position, but also validate its progress and the potential of its therapeutic approach. "We would like to welcome the new investors, who have placed their trust in the translational capacity of the OneChain team, and who will accompany us in this new phase to consolidate a portfolio of cell therapy products with the aim of improving the lives of patients," concludes Rodríguez.
An international dimension
In addition to the confidence placed in the company by private investors, OCI has received a financial injection from the European Innovation Council (EIC) through its Transition call, which promotes activities aimed at preparing the market launch of new technologies. This contribution will go towards the development of a novel CAR-T therapy that does not rely on the patient's own cells (allogeneic) and simultaneously attacks two cancer cell targets.
"The financial support from the European Commission is especially important to us, not only because of the financial boost it gives us, but also because of the distinction it implies," says Alemany. “The award of this project is the result of a very competitive process and speaks to the confidence that the European institutions have in the revolutionary potential of CAR-T therapy to transform cancer treatment”.