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Cytovation AS kicks-off with $20m Series A financing

Norway’s immuno-oncology specialist Cytovation A/S has raised $20m in a Series A financing led by early-stage investor Sandwater.

The Bergen University spin off said it will use the proceeds of NOK180m ($20m) to push clinical development of its first-in-class targeted tumour-lytic immunotherapy CyPep-1 in the ongoing Phase I/II CICILIA clinical trial.  CyPep-1 is a pore-forming agent triggering destruction of cancer cell membranes and creation of an inflammatory tumour microenvironment through the release of intracellular tumour antigens.

In the Phase II part of the CICILIA trial, CyPep-1 will be co-administered with Merck Sharp & Dohmes (MSD/Merck & Co.) immune checkpoint modulator pembrolizumab that blocks the PD-1 checkpoint. The efficacy of pembrolizumab is currently limited to the 20% fraction of all solid tumours that show an inflamed phenotype. In proclinical trials, CyPep-1broadened the fraction of tumours susceptible to pembrolizumab therapy.

According to Lars Prestegarden, CEO of Cytovation AS, Phase II data will be availabe in 2022. CyPep-1 will be delievered by direct n situ vaccination into the tumour. Specifically, the Phase II part of the trial will be expanded. Besides  the expansion of single-agent arms, three combination arms with pembrolizumab in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), and melanoma, will be established in collaboration with MSD.