Houston-based Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., developers of therapeutic vaccines for cancer, today announced that the company has completed its $34.4 million Series B financing in a second and final closing of $14.7 million that included two major venture capital groups, including AVG Ventures and Texas-based Remeditex Ventures, the recipient of Texas billionaire and philanthropist Lyda Hill’s efforts to fund next-generation cancer research.
The funding in this final closing is earmarked to be used to launch a major clinical development effort to test the company’s lead cellular immunotherapy product candidates that offer hope of treatment against leukemia/lymphoma and prostate cancer.
Bellicum’s approach to combating both leukemia/lymphoma and prostate cancer is to control cell therapies once inside the body.
BPX-501, Bellicum’s product in development for the elimination or reversal of GvHD, and BPX-201, a product in development for the treatment of prostate cancer, both utilize the company’s CID “safety switch” technology, which is referred to as CaspaCIDe in BPX-501 and DeCIDe in BPX-201. This safety switch allows physicians to make adjustments to the treatment by being able to eliminate transplanted cells if they begin to harm the patient during treatment, and to strategically target immune activation for a more potent anti-tumor effect in tumor-based cancers such as prostate cancer.
“Bellicum is well positioned within the highly promising field of cellular immunotherapy with a technology that provides control over cells after they have been administered to the patient,” said Bellicum CEO Tom Farrell. “This funding will be used to advance our two clinical programs in leukemia/lymphoma and prostate cancer, and launch studies in additional indications where there is urgent need for safer and more effective cell therapies.”
BPX-501 T-Cells are currently being tested in a Phase I/II study to reduce or eliminate Graft versus Host Disease in cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant, while BPX-201 is currently in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer.
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