Authored by James Sheppard
The Houston based biotechnology firm Bellicum Pharmaceuticals announced that it had raised $55m in Series C funding. The money will be used to expand ongoing clinical trials for the company’s two leading drug candidates in oncology.
Bellicum is developing immunotherapies that allow the suppression or activation of cells administered to patients with leukemia, lymphoma or pancreatic cancers. The therapy is based on a core technology, CaspaCIDe, which allows doctors to control the cells after they have been administered to the patient.
The company currently has two lead assets, BPX-501 and BPX-201. BPX-501 is currently being developed for use in adult leukaemia. The drug is designed with a cell-suicide mechanism that can be triggered to force it to kill cells that have gone rogue, making current risky cancer treatments safer for patients. The second candidate BPX-201 is a vaccine consisting of dendritic cells that is being developed to fight prostate cancer. Both drugs are currently in phase I/II clinical trials.
The fund raising comes soon after the company had raised $34.4m in series B funding in January 2014. This fund raising will contribute towards expanding the current 24 patients in each trial to over 150 by the end of 2015.