Pressrelease from a company at SmiLe Incubator: Asgard Therapeutics AB (“Asgard”), a Swedish private biotech company pioneering in vivo cell reprogramming approaches to elicit potent anti-cancer immune responses, today announces the completion of a EUR 6 million seed financing round. The financing was co-led by Novo Holdings, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Industrifonden.
Funds will be used to further develop off-the-shelf and personalized therapy programs for multiple oncology indications.
Asgard is developing a paradigm-shifting cancer immunotherapy approach, based on its proprietary TrojanDC technology, to reinstate cancer immunogenicity. TrojanDC is a gene therapy that reprograms cancer cells into type-1 conventional dendritic cells, allowing the presentation of their own antigens to the immune system, thereby eliciting potent anti-cancer immune responses. Designed as an off-the-shelf gene therapy, TrojanDC induces a personalized immune response, and overcomes many of the logistic and manufacturing hurdles of conventional cell-based therapies.
The Company originated from Lund University’s Cell Reprogramming and Immunity lab, led by Professor Filipe Pereira PhD, who is also Asgard’s Co-Founder and Head of Innovation. Cristiana Pires PhD, CEO and co-founder, and Fábio Rosa PhD, co-founder, established the seminal work describing direct reprogramming of somatic cells published in the prestigious science journal Science Immunology 1.
Cristiana Pires, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Asgard Therapeutics, said: “At Asgard, we are committed to surpassing the challenges of current cancer immunotherapies, making them available for every patient. The support we have received from such a strong syndicate of life science investors, is a strong endorsement to the potential of our TrojanDC technology. The financing will enable us to expand our pipeline of preclinical assets and build on our commitment to making personalized cancer immunotherapies optimized to each unique patient.”
João Ribas from Novo Seeds commented: “We are very pleased to co-lead this financing and support the translation of the founders’ scientific research at Lund University. While reprogramming approaches have been mainly restricted to regenerative medicine, the work of Filipe, Cristiana, Fábio and their team opens exciting opportunities to merge the fields of cell reprogramming and cancer immunotherapy that can be applied to several cancers, representing a platform technology with enormous potential. We look forward to working with the Asgard team as they pioneer a new generation of cancer immunotherapy”.
Philipp Müller from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund commented: “We are excited to support Asgard Therapeutics and its founder team as co-lead of this seed investment. The seminal work conducted at Lund University by Cristiana Pires, Filipe Pereira, and Fábio Rosa enables the direct conversion of non-related somatic cells into antigen presenting cells with a completely novel cellular identity. We believe this approach holds the potential to significantly impact the way cancer immunotherapy will evolve in the future and to bring new treatment options with true breakthrough potential to cancer patients in need.”
Bita Sehat from Industrifonden said: “Asgard’s novel gene therapy approach to reprogram cancer cells into antigen-presenting cells holds great promise to open up new avenues within the immune-oncology space. We are pleased to co-lead this round and look forward to partnering with this strong group of investors and distinguished scientists as the co-founding team to advance what we believe will be a broadly applicable new cancer treatment platform.”
As part of the transaction, Søren Møller (Novo Holdings), Philipp Müller (BIVF) and Jonas Jendi (Industrifonden) join current Board Members Filipe Pereira and Lars Hedbys. João Ribas (Novo Holdings) and Fábio Rosa (Asgard Therapeutics) will also join as Board Observers.
For more information please contact:
Cristiana Pires, Co-founder and CEO
+46 (0) 731 566 072
Optimum Strategic Communications
Hollie Vile, Manel Mateus, Vici Rabbetts
+44 (0) 20 8078 4357
SmiLe Incubator is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden. SmiLe helps entrepreneurs commercialize their ideas. There are currently 25 companies in SmiLe which, together with alumni companies, have attracted more than EUR 460 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers excellent business coaching, a broad international network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as well-equipped laboratories which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Agilent, Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco, Aqilion. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of EUR 1,3 billion (Q1 2021). www.smileincubator.life