Wednesday, April 04, 2018

$30 Million Cash Infusion for San Diego Firm, On Top of $20 Million from California Stem Cell Agency

A recent recipient of nearly $20 million from the California stem cell agency is on a financial roll this week as it pursues its efforts to translate what it says are "best-in-class gene therapy technologies into lifesaving cell therapies."

The firm is Poseida Therapeutics, Inc., of San Diego. Last October, it was awarded $19.8 million by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the stem cell agency is formally known.

Poseida said yesterday it has hauled in $30.5 million more. The firm said in a news release that the cash will go to "advance a pipeline of autologous and allogeneic CAR-T immunotherapies, as well as gene therapies, using Poseida’s suite of gene engineering technologies."

The firm said its CIRM-backed "P-BCMA-101(product) is a CAR-T therapy currently in Phase 1 clinical development for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, with initial clinical data accepted for presentation at the upcoming AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) Annual Meeting." The firm is also tackling prostate cancer.

Jack Murtha of Health Care Analytics News wrote,
"It’s a good day for Poseida Therapeutics, one of the trailblazing precision medicine ventures that aims to transform cancer treatment through cutting-edge gene-editing technologies. But just how good of a day is it? Try $30.5 million good."
Murtha said the company has now raised more than $80 million for its endeavors, including the CIRM award, venture capital of $11.2 million last August and $23 million in 2015. The bulk of today's funding came from Longitude Capital of Menlo Park.

At the time of the CIRM award last fall, Maria Millan, president of CIRM, described the nature of the problem that Poseida was addressing, 
“Multiple myeloma disproportionately affects people over the age of 65 and African Americans, and it leads to progressive bone destruction, severe anemia, infectious complications and kidney and heart damage from abnormal proteins produced by the malignant plasma cells. Less than half of patients with multiple myeloma live beyond 5 years.”
Last fall, CIRM reviewers, meeting behind closed doors, unanimously approved, 10-0, Poseida Therapeutics application (CLIN2-10395), which included Poseida's commitment to provide $8.6 million in co-funding. The agency's governing board later ratified the decision with no discussion.

A public, CIRM-prepared summary of the reviewers' comments said, 
"Reviewers thought that the proposed product has the potential to provide a very high rate of durable response in myeloma patients. There is strong scientific and clinical rationale for targeting BCMA on myeloma cells. Reviewers thought that the proposed improvements to the CAR T cell platform technology are highly innovative and could enhance the efficacy and durability of the treatment. Reviewers unanimously recommended the application for funding."
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