Investment accelerates robust clinical development of oncolytic viral immunotherapy pipeline
TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Turnstone Biologics Inc. ("Turnstone" or the "Company") announced the completion of an $11.3 million Series A financing round led by Versant Ventures ("Versant") with follow-on capital committed in excess of $20.0 million. The investment has enabled the Company to appoint Sammy J. Farah, PhD, MBA as Chief Executive Officer and Brian D. Lichty, PhD as Chief Technology Officer. Turnstone is focused on developing novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies, and proceeds of the announced financing will allow the Company to expand development of its product portfolio. The first of Turnstone's programs is currently in Phase I/II trials in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours. Founding investor FACIT also participated in the round.
The addition of Drs. Farah and Lichty bolsters Turnstone's leadership team with talented and experienced management. Dr. Farah is a veteran vaccine executive with extensive technology and product development expertise. Dr. Lichty, a distinguished scientist, is a leader in the development of oncolytic viral therapies and one of Turnstone's founding scientists. In conjunction with this investment, the Company's board of directors is also strengthened by the appointment of Versant Partner Jerel Davis, PhD and Managing Director Brad Bolzon, PhD.
"I am delighted to join Turnstone's dedicated team in helping to advance a transformative technology that will positively impact a broad range of cancer patients," said Dr. Farah. "With an established leadership in oncolytic viral immunotherapy, and a high content clinical trial for the first product candidate already in progress, Turnstone is in an advantaged position to significantly influence the immuno-oncology landscape."
Turnstone's platform is a unique and first-in-class approach that combines the benefits of oncolytic viral therapy with a tumour-targeted vaccine, into a single intravenously-delivered treatment to stimulate and direct a patient's immune response. Products from this platform possess many distinguishing qualities that address the shortcomings of previous oncolytic virus and vaccine products, including systemic administration, production of significant and durable T-cell responses, and ease of manufacturing. An initial clinical trial evaluating the safety profile in cancer patients is ongoing and preclinical studies in mice and primates have demonstrated unprecedented immune responses against tumours. These data extend the recent clinical validation of oncolytic viruses, positioning the Company's platform to expand the boundaries of immuno-oncology and benefit a large group of patients.
"We believe that Turnstone's platform represents one of the most promising approaches in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy and are looking forward to clinical results early next year," said Jerel Davis. "Versant is delighted to be teaming up with such an exceptional group of leaders, researchers and institutes to advance development in multiple indications and in combination with other immunotherapies."
"We are very pleased to have completed this financing with an experienced venture capital firm of Versant's calibre, and to strengthen the Company's management team with highly qualified leaders," said Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer of FACIT and Turnstone's founding investor. "Versant's commitment provides valuable development and commercialization resources given the depth of Versant's extensive network and expertise. This investment enables Turnstone to pursue an aggressive growth strategy to fully exploit the commercial potential of the Company's pipeline."
About Turnstone Biologics
Turnstone Biologics Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies for cancer. Turnstone's therapeutic platform is a first-in-class tumour-targeted oncolytic vaccine that combines potent tumour-killing effects of oncolytic viruses with the benefits of a cancer vaccine that harnesses the patient's own immune system to fight disease in a sustainable manner. The Company's platform leverages the innovations and expertise of its renowned founding scientists, Drs. John Bell, Brian Lichty and David Stojdl. Turnstone is also developing additional oncolytic virus strategies and immunotherapy combination treatments. For more information, please visit www.turnstonebio.com or email [email protected].
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare investment firm committed to helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great healthcare companies. The firm invests across the healthcare sector and at all stages of company development, with an emphasis on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. With $1.9 billion under management and offices in North America and Europe, Versant has built a team with deep investment, operating, and scientific expertise that enables a hands-on approach to company building. Since the firm's founding in 1999, more than 40 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.
FACIT is an independent business trust established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to undertake development and commercialization activities related to cancer research, products and drug discovery. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email [email protected].
SOURCE Turnstone Biologics Inc.
For further information: Sammy Farah, PhD, MBA | CEO, [email protected]