SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company focused on developing and commercializing allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies, announced today the launch of the company with the close of a $78 million Series A financing. The financing was co-led by 5AM Ventures, venBio Partners, and RA Capital Management, and joined by Medivate Partners and seed investors and strategic partners GC LabCell (Green Cross LabCell Corporation) (KRX: 144510) and GC (Green Cross Holdings Corporation) (KRX: 005250). Artiva will use the proceeds of this financing to develop off-the-shelf universal NK cells for use in combination with monoclonal antibody therapy and tumor targeting CAR-NK cell therapies.
“We have seen tremendous breakthroughs in redirecting immune cells against cancer, but patient access to these therapies has been limited by safety, scale, manufacturing, logistics, and cost issues,” said Tom Farrell, President and CEO of Artiva. “Our goal at Artiva is to do more, leveraging GC LabCell’s foundational work on true off-the-shelf NK cells into a pipeline of product candidates that are accessible to any cancer patient who may benefit.”
Artiva’s initial pipeline includes AB-101, a universal NK cell therapy for use in combination with monoclonal antibodies. The company plans to enter the clinic this year with AB-101 in combination with an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of relapsed refractory B-cell lymphoma. The company is also advancing AB-201, a novel HER2-specific CAR-NK cell therapy for the treatment of HER2+ solid tumors, and AB-202, a CD19-specific CAR-NK cell therapy for the treatment of CD19+ B-cell malignancies. In each case, a large scale of production along with effective cryopreservation enables high and repeat dosing.
Scaling NK Cell Therapy for Cancer
Artiva’s pipeline of universal and targeted NK cell therapies leverages the innate anti-tumor biology and safety features of NK cells. The therapies are optimized for enhanced efficacy through chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), therapeutic antibody combination therapy, and genetic engineering. The pipeline leverages a manufacturing platform that supports large-scale production and cryopreservation of off-the-shelf allogeneic NK cell therapies and proprietary CAR-NK and NK-specific gene-editing technologies to augment therapeutic activity.
Artiva’s platform incorporates cell expansion, activation, and engineering technology developed and enhanced through mid-stage clinical trials by the company’s corporate partner, GC LabCell. Artiva has exclusive ex-Asia-Pacific license agreements with GC LabCell covering their core manufacturing and CAR technology and initial product candidates and an option to take exclusive ex-Asia-Pacific licenses to additional research candidates generated by GC LabCell, under the governance of a Joint Steering Committee.
“The inherent biology of natural killer cells holds enormous therapeutic potential for cancer therapy, but until Artiva, technological barriers held back their advancement,” said 5AM Ventures partner Brian Daniels, M.D. “Artiva is systematically resolving the barriers to safe and effective NK cell therapies at a scale that enables broader access to potentially life-saving cancer treatments.”
Leadership Team: Deep Cell Therapy and Oncology Experience
Artiva’s proven executive team brings deep, diverse cell therapy and oncology experience to research and advance a pipeline of NK and CAR-NK cell therapies to treat cancer.
- Tom Farrell, President, CEO, and Director
- Peter Flynn, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer
- Jason Litten, M.D., Chief Medical Officer
- Anne Frese, Vice President, Human Resources
- Eugene Helsel, Vice President, Regulatory and Quality
- John KC Lim, Pharm.D., Vice President, Clinical Operations
- Sungyong Won, Ph.D., VP, Alliance Management
Board of Directors: Expertise in Clinical Drug Development and Commercialization
Artiva’s Board of Directors brings expertise in discovery, clinical development, and commercialization of novel, innovative therapeutics.
- Brian Daniels, M.D., 5AM Ventures
- Tom Farrell, Artiva Biotherapeutics
- Yong-Jun Huh, GC Holdings
- Yu-Kyeong Hwang, Ph.D., GC LabCell
- Laura Stoppel, Ph.D., RA Capital Management
- Yvonne Yamanaka, Ph.D., venBio Partners
About Artiva Biotherapeutics
At Artiva, our mission is to deliver to cancer patients highly effective cellular immunotherapies that are also safe and immediately accessible. Towards this end, Artiva is advancing a pipeline of off-the-shelf, allogeneic NK cell therapies, including CAR-NK cell therapies, that leverage the company’s unique manufacturing and engineering capabilities. Artiva is headquartered in San Diego. For more info, please visit www.artivabio.com.
GC (formerly known as Green Cross Holdings), through its affiliates, provides total healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of human health. As the company’s cell therapy operating company, GC LabCell has been developing its NK cell platform for more than ten years and was the first to demonstrate the safety of fully allogeneic NK cells in patients. GC LabCell and its affiliate GC Cell occupy a state-of-the-art 300,000+ sqft Cell Centre, completed in 2018, containing research labs, process development labs and a 50,000+ sqft GMP cell therapy manufacturing facility. GC and GC LabCell provided seed financing for Artiva in 2019, and GC Cell provides clinical manufacturing services to the company. Green Cross Holdings updated its corporate master brand to GC in early 2018. Green Cross Holdings Corporation remains the company’s registered, legal name.
Raymond James served as financial advisor to GC.