New Hope for Cancer Patients with No Other Treatment Options

Today we are pleased to announce Foresite Capital’s investment in ImmPACT Bio, which we co-led with Venbio and Decheng Capital. We’re excited about ImmPACT’s focus on next generation cancer therapies based on transformative chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for cancer patients who have exhausted other treatment options.

ImmPACT Bio’s logic-gate-based CAR-T platforms address key biological challenges in treating cancer. The company’s technologies are specifically designed to address the major challenges for cancer cell therapy such as antigen escape (eg. tumor cells escape from targeted killing by reducing their antigen levels), lack of tumor specific antigens especially for solid tumors, toxicities caused by off-target killing, and the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.

We first became acquainted with the team at ImmPACT Bio from Dr. Yvonne Chen’s impressive research at UCLA. Dr. Chen is one of the pioneers in using synthetic biology approaches to engineer CAR-T cells for more precise and effective cell therapies. We are very excited to work with Dr. Chen to translate the cutting edge research from her lab to the clinic to save patient lives.

Stemming from Dr. Chen’s work, the lead clinical program at ImmPACT is a CD19XCD20 bispecific CAR-T cell therapy, which we believe will greatly help Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients who run out of treatment options. We are impressed by the current clinical profile: 7 out of 8 patients treated up to date, who have the most aggressive forms of lymphoma and have refracted/ relapsed from multiple prior lines of treatments, are staying in complete remission with 12 months median followup. We believe this will bring new hope and options to lymphoma patients and their families.

In addition to a promising approach and compelling clinical assets, we look for a strong team that we believe can capitalize on the opportunity. ImmPACT is led by president and CEO Sumant Ramachandra, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Ramachandra brings more than 30 years’ experience in healthcare, including more than two decades in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry across multiple roles. In addition, Dr. Sheila Gujrathi will be joining ImmPACT Bio as the board chair. Dr. Gujrathi has served in top leadership roles at multiple successful biotech companies including Turning Point Therapeutics, another one of our portfolio companies.

We believe now is the right time to invest in ImmPACT Bio:

  1. CAR-T technology has gained widespread recognition and is seen as a promising approach in the treatment of multiple malignancies. CAR-T cell therapy is moving to earlier lines of treatment and has shown clinical benefit over standard of care in high-risk patient groups.
  2. Early clinical data from ImmPACT is extremely promising in our view. We believe the superior efficacy and safety profile of the lead program will help to expand the access of CAR-T cell therapy to a broader patient population.
  3. The pioneering work from Dr. Yvonne Chen’s lab combined with the great leadership of Dr. Sumant Ramachandra will empower ImmPACT to achieve great visions with top notch executions.

At Foresite Capital, we focus our investments broadly on therapeutics, healthcare services and data science, individualized healthcare, and life science infrastructure. ImmPACT Bio is a good example of our strategy in therapeutics, with a strong team creating a new platform to transform the oncology therapeutics landscape. Other Foresite Capital investments in this space include Juno TherapeuticsLyell ImmunopharmaBit.Bio and Adicet Bio.

In connection with the financing, I will be joining ImmPACT as a board director, bringing my experience in cell therapy to support the continued growth of the company. My colleague Dr. Michael Rome will be joining as a board observer.

Several Foresite Capital employees were instrumental in the sourcing and diligence of this deal, including Collin Yang-Wong and Insiya Essani. We really appreciate their efforts.

I’m excited to be working with the team at ImmPACT to bring new treatment options to patients who really need them.

-Cindy Xiong