A Baltimore company in the second phase of a clinical trial for a cancer immunotherapy treatment, one that taps the body’s own immune system to fight disease, has secured $32.5 million in financing to continue developing its products.
WindMIL Therapeutics, a Johns Hopkins spinoff company based in Hopkins’ Fast Forward incubator, said it completed a Series B financing round led by Qiming Venture Partners USA, the U.S. arm of a Chinese-based venture capital firm.
Other new investors in this second round of financing included Medivate Partners, the Kinneret Group and Camden Partners Nexus, a Baltimore-based early stage venture fund, the company said. All existing investors, including Domain Associates, Fox Kiser and Silver Rock Financial also participated in the financing.
Clinical trials aim to show safety and efficacy of new therapies, and WindMIL is testing its method on high-risk multiple myeloma patients. The disease is cancer in plasma cells found in bone marrow, an important part of the immune system.
Cases are relatively uncommon with about 30,000 people expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. There is no cure and the median life expectancy for someone with advanced stages of the cancer is less than four years.
The WindMIL therapy involves a process called Marrow Infiltrating Lymphocytes, or MILs, which is a rapid process to extract, activate and expand bone marrow-derived T cells, which the company says are the immune system’s most effective killers. They can recognize and destroy tumor cells.
The company also plans to begin clinical trials to study MILs in solid tumors and is working to genetically modify MILs to make them stronger.
The company added Mark McDade and Anna French, both with Qiming, to its board of directors.