Valo Therapeutics Announces €11m Fundraise to Advance PeptiCRAd Immunotherapy Platform into the Clinic; Co-founder Dr Sari Pesonen, Head of R&D, promoted to CSO
Helsinki, Finland, 15 November 2021: Valo Therapeutics Oy (ValoTx), the developer of novel, adaptable immunotherapy platforms for cancer and infectious diseases, today announced it has successfully raised Euro 11 million (around USD 12.75 million) in an oversubscribed Pre-IPO funding round. Corporate advisory firm Ironside Capital acted as lead manager for ValoTx. The Pre-IPO fund included participation from existing investors, Freeman Road, and new investors, including ASX-listed MMJ Group Holdings. The total raised to date is now over Euro 22 million (around USD 25.5 million). The majority of the proceeds will be used to finalise preparations and initiate a Phase 1 clinical study of the company’s lead tumour antigen-coated oncolytic virus candidate, PeptiCRAd-1, in addition to the continued development of the anti-infectives platforms including PeptiBAC and PeptiVAX. The proceeds will also be used to support the preparation of Valo’s IPO in 2022.
The Company also announced the internal promotion to Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Dr Sari Pesonen, ValoTx’s current Head of R&D, and a co-founder of the company. Dr Pesonen has previously led scientific development in immuno-oncology biotech companies and has substantial experience in clinical drug development, including, at Oncos Therapeutics, which demonstrated, for the first time, the mode of action of oncolytic adenovirus-based cancer immunotherapy. She is a co-author on over 60 peer-reviewed research papers and inventor in several patents related to oncolytic viruses. Sari has a PhD in biology from the University of Turku, Finland.
Paul Higham, CEO of ValoTx, commented, “This successful financing is yet another significant milestone as we further validate our PeptiCRAd platform and now take the important step into the first clinical study. In addition, the financing will allow us to further validate our other oncology and infectious disease platforms and our pan Coronavirus T-cell vaccine. I’m also delighted to announce Dr Sari Pesonen as our new CSO, who has been instrumental in bringing the company to this point and will continue to focus on advancing our immunotherapy platforms”.
Dr Paul Porter from Freeman Road, a family consortium with deep expertise in the healthcare technology space, and a primary investor in Valo Therapeutics, said, "At Freeman Road we help bring new ideas to the market. We've backed ValoTx right from the start, and the high value we saw in the company's ideas back at its seed round is still rock solid today: the business concept is novel, backed by a highly experienced team, with the potential for enormous market, and patient, impact. ValoTx’s innovative solutions to vaccines, immuno-oncology and personalised cancer treatments are life-changing and will overcome some of medicine's greatest challenges”
Dr Sari Pesonen, CSO of ValoTx, commented, “I’m thrilled to become ValoTx’s CSO after 5 years heading R&D at ValoTx, pursuing my passion to develop immunotherapy platforms. We expect our platform will be a powerful system to deliver advanced individualized or ‘patient-specific’ cancer treatments, in indications including metastatic melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and triple negative breast cancer.”
PeptiCRAd (Peptide-coated Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus) is an innovative way of combining the best features of two clinically proven cancer immunotherapy approaches: oncolytic adenoviruses and peptide vaccines. PeptiCRAd uses tumour replication specific oncolytic viruses as active carriers of tumor-specific peptides to direct the immune system to specifically target and kill cancer cells.
Valo Therapeutics (Helsinki) is an immunotherapy company that is developing antigen-coated oncolytic viruses and vaccine vectors as therapeutic vaccines against cancer and infectious disease. The ValoTx lead platform, PeptiCRAd (Peptide-coated Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus), was developed out of the laboratory of Professor Vincenzo Cerullo at the University of Helsinki. It turns oncolytic adenoviruses into targeted tissue specific cancer vaccines without the need to generate and manufacture multiple genetically modified viruses. The company is also developing PeptiENV and PeptiVAX, among other neoantigen strategies, in collaboration with Professor Cerullo. PeptiENV is expected to improve the therapeutic response to oncolytic enveloped viruses in the treatment of multiple forms of cancer, while PeptiVAX is a program to develop a novel, adaptable anti-infectives vaccination platform. A film explaining the PeptiCRAd technology can be found here.
Scius Communications (for ValoTx)