Harpoon Therapeutics, a new Arix Group Business, has closed a Series B investment round raising $45 million.
Arix Bioscience said that it co-led the financing round with New Leaf Venture Partners, and additional new investor Taiho Ventures. They join founding investor MPM Capital, which also participated. Arix Bioscience’s Mark Chin will join Harpoon’s Board of Directors.
Harpoon created its novel, proprietary trispecific antibody platform (TriTAC) to harness T cells to kill tumour and other cell types by recruiting T cells and other immune cells. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Harpoon’s immuno-oncology antibody platform programmes, including moving two lead programmes into clinical trials and expanding the product pipeline through discovery and partnering initiatives, the company said. Additionally, the company is increasing its commitment to developing research platforms including those that become activated by proteases present in the tumour microenvironment.
Harpoon’s first clinical candidate, HPN424, is a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeting TriTAC. HPN424 is in development for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer and is expected to enter Phase 1 clinical trials in 2018. Harpoon’s second clinical candidate has not been publicly disclosed and will move into the clinic within the next year. The company anticipates additional clinical candidates to be identified and progressed.
Harpoon was founded in 2015 by a team led by Patrick Baeuerle, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer during the development of bispecific T cell engagers (BiTE) at Micromet, which was acquired by Amgen for $1.2billion in 2012. His pioneering work led to the approval of Amgen’s Blincyto (blinatumomab) in 2014 for patients with refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.