Transgene receives €30m in funding from EIB and major shareholder

To finance new clinical developments for the treatment of infectious diseases, virus-induced cancers and tuberculosis

French biotechnology firm Transgene is to receive funding of €30m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its main shareholder, the Institut Mérieux.

The firm said the funding (€20m from the EIB and €10m from the Institut Mérieux) will be used to help finance its new clinical developments for the treatment of infectious diseases, including chronic hepatitis B, virus-induced cancers such as HPV (human papilloma virus) and tuberculosis.

Transgene completed a restructuring plan, announced in June 2015, earlier this month. The firm said it has now entered a new phase and will pursue new clinical studies with its immunotherapy products in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), a new class of promising therapeutics for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases.

The firm said the principle of a strong interaction between viral vector-based immunotherapies and ICIs is validated by a number of current clinical trials. In strengthening the immune response through two complementary mechanisms of action, these combinations should increase treatment efficacy, the firm said.

Transgene has adapted its structure to its strategy and has the means, thanks to the support of the Institut Mérieux and the EIB, to pursue its development priorities

Transgene said it aims to be an active player in this new area. Combining its products with ICIs offers the potential to promote synergies in the treatment of certain cancers and infectious diseases and improve the quality of life of patients, it said.

The firm has already started discussions with clinical and biopharmaceutical partners to start five Phase II clinical studies in combination with ICIs for its two most advanced products. The first patients should be treated in mid-2016.

The main combination programmes are:

  • Combination of TG4010 with an ICI in the first-and second-line treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC);
  • Combination of Pexa-Vec with an ICI in the first-line treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as well as for the treatment of other solid tumours

Transgene is also strengthening its translational research capabilities through collaborations with academic institutions and hospitals.

The firm said it would provide detailed information about the plans with the publication of its 2015 annual results on 8 March.

Philippe Archinard, Chairman and CEO of Transgene, said: 'Transgene has adapted its structure to its strategy and has the means, thanks to the support of the Institut Mérieux and the contribution of the EIB, to pursue its development priorities around new combinations, notably with ICIs. The restructuring renders the company nimbler and, by being more pro-active in clinical development, allows us to become a major player in the new immunotherapy paradigm.

'Our solid fundamentals, the support of our major shareholder, and our new additional funding give us the confidence to face the future with ambition and optimism, with many clinical results expected by the end of 2017.'

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