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Billionaires send Ganymed racing through clinic

Authored by James Sheppard

The Germany biotechnology company Ganymed has announced that it had successfully raised $60m in a new venture round to advance the ongoing phase IIa and phase IIb study of IMAB362 for gastroesophageal cancer.

Ganymed has now successfully raised over $148m in venture financing in the past 5 years. The new venture round was backed by some of the industry’s leading names including German billionaire twins Thomas and Andreas Strungmann. The Strungmann twins sold generics giant Hexal to Novartis in 2005 and soon after founded the venture capital company ATS Beteiligungsverwaltung GmbH who are now the majority shareholders in Ganymed.

Ganymed have an impressive pipeline built around the work of Dr Ozlem Tureci, CEO and Professor Uger Sachin. Ganymed’s IMABs antibodies bind to cancer-selective targets that are predominantly expressed in tumour cells and show little or no expression in healthy tissue. This unique cancer-cell selectivity of IMABs allows for maximal high-precision anticancer potency while mitigating the threat of toxicity. They can be administered at optimal dose and have a broad therapeutic window. IMABs can be engineered as unlabelled, ADC or bispecific format.

Ganymed’s lead asset IMAB362 is a first in class monoclonal antibody that binds to the tight junction protein Claudin-18.2, which is expressed in up to 80% of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas and 60% of pancreatic tumours as well as in various other solid tumours. In October 2013, Ganymed announced it had received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA & EMA for IMAB362 in pancreatic cancer.

Ganymed are also developing IMAB027 for ovarian cancer which will soon enter phase I/II clinical studies following positive preclinical data.  First in human studies of IMAB 027 are planned for the early part of 2014. Ganymed have also developed companion diagnostic test for both IMAB362 and IMAB027 with the former receiving CE Marking in Europe in September 2013.

The recent spate of positive news for Ganymed has seen the company draw attention from the wider pharmaceutical community. Many of whom will be eagerly watching the results of the companies upcoming clinical studies. With a strong and reputable management team in place an enviable pipeline of assets the future is looking very bright for Ganymed.

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