PDC*line Pharma raises €4 million in first funding round
PDC*line Pharma, a company developing a new immuno-oncology platform, today announces a first funding round of €4M ($4.24M), including €2.6M ($2.76M) in capital and €1.4M ($1.48M) in bank loans, grants and recoverable advances. Eric Halioua, serial entrepreneur and manager with a solid biotechnology and cell therapy background, has joined the company as CEO and president of the board of directors.
PDC*line Pharma is a spin-off of the French Blood Bank (EFS), offering a breakthrough innovation to the rapidly expanding sector of cancer immunotherapy. Its technology is based on a universal line of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC*line) which can be loaded with various types of target tumor antigens. The product can be obtained in large quantities, with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant quality and very competitive production costs. It is injected into cancer patients to induce a potent antitumor CD8+ immune response. A first phase 1b clinical study authorized by the ANSM (French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety) has been conducted on nine patients with advanced skin cancer (melanoma) at Grenoble University Hospital and Nantes University Hospital. This clinical trial is nearing completion, with results expected in the second quarter of 2017.
The financing round drew investment from three Belgian institutional investors, (Meusinvest, Spinventure and the Financière Spin-off Luxembourgeoise/INVESTSUD Group), and a group of international business angels including Serge Goblet (Tolefi), Baudouin Jolly, Françoise Jolly-de Vaucleroy, Parness SA, Jean-Paul Prieels (former senior vice president of R&D at GSK Vaccines) and Riccardo Cortese (former CEO of Okairos and current CEO of Nouscom). In addition, the company obtained nearly €1.4M ($1.48M) in bank loans, EU funding (SME Instrument), and grants in Belgium (Walloon Region, Wallonia Biotech Coaching incubator – WBC) and in France (Auvergne-RhôneAlpes Initiative).
According to Jean-Paul Prieels, investor and director at PDC*line Pharma: “PDC*line Pharma has accumulated compelling evidence of the originality and superiority of PDC*line compared to conventional autologous dendritic cells, as well as its extraordinary versatility in terms of the types and forms of tumor antigens that can be used (neoantigens or shared antigens, peptides, mRNA or viral vectors) or genetic modifications. The first preclinical and clinical results are extremely encouraging.”
Eric Halioua (MS, MBA), the new CEO, joined the two PDC*line Pharma founders, Laurent Levy (MS, MBA), chief operating officer, and Joel Plumas (PhD), chief scientific officer, in 2016, to undertake the fundraising. He assumed the position of president of the board of directors and company CEO. He has raised nearly €80M ($85M) over the course of his career and has had numerous successes in the sale and initial public offering of biotechnology companies. Halioua has also managed several biotechnology companies with products in clinical development.
Halioua said: “Since 2014, PDC*line Pharma has performed very well, thanks to the support of the French Blood Bank and the dynamism of its founders. This first round of capital gives us the means to prepare a new clinical study to prove the efficacy of our technology. We will also finalize the industrialization of our process and continue to investigate the mechanism of action and potential applications of our unique technology platform.”
On the occasion of this financing round, PDC*line Pharma has set up an office in Liège, Walloon Region; gaining a foothold within a leading international cluster in its field: immuno-oncology and cell therapy.
“PDC*line Pharma’s technology has the potential to become the most powerful platform in cancer immunotherapy. PDC*line is easy to produce under industrial conditions with very competitive production costs. We are also impressed by the quality of the management and specialized investors” said Marc Foidart, deputy CEO at Meusinvest Group.
About PDC*line Pharma
Founded in 2014 in Grenoble, France, as a spin-off of the French Blood Bank (EFS), with a site in Liege, Belgium, PDC*line Pharma is a biotech company that develops a new class of potent and scalable therapeutic universal antigen presenting cell, based on a proprietary cell line of Plasmacytoid Dendritic cells (PDC*line). The market potential is estimated to be in the range of several billion euros. Based on a first-in-human phase 1 study in melanoma, PDC*line Pharma is now focused on the development of a candidate for other tumor indications. PDC*line Pharma has benefited from the support of several partners and labels: Auvergne-RhôneAlps Initiative, Bpifrance financements, EFS (French Blood Bank), European commission, French ministry of research, GATE1 incubator, Grenoble-Alps University Hospital, Lyonbiopole competitiveness cluster, Réseau Entreprendre Rhône, Walloon region, WBC Incubator, I-LAB competition, Inovizi creation, Inovizi development, SME Instrument (H2020), Tremplin enterprise competition 2015, Worldwide Innovation Challenge and French young innovative company status.
Source: PDC*line Pharma Press Release