Tel Aviv, Israel — July 14, 2020 — aMoon Velocity, the early-stage fund of Israel’s largest HealthTech and life sciences venture fund aMoon, today announced an investment round with initial closing of $6 million in Nectin Therapeutics, a leading developer of next-generation immuno-oncology biotherapies. The investment included participation from existing investor Integra Holdings, an investment company exclusively focused on life science innovations emerging from the Hebrew University, as well as other investors. The total investment is expected to reach $15 million.
Nectin Therapeutics develops novel monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the activity of the recently-discovered Nectin family of proteins, which enable many cancers to evade detection and attack by the immune system. The antibodies therefore boost the immune system and help it fight cancers in solid tissue and in the bloodstream.
While the human immune system is capable of eradicating tumors by identifying cancer cells, many cancers often deploy defense mechanisms to evade attacks by immune T-cells. An anti-cancer treatment that utilizes first of its kind antibodies to block immune checkpoints (the regulators that prevent the immune system from indiscriminately attacking cells) was recently introduced for clinical use, significantly advancing cancer therapies and offering new hope for patients. However, new therapeutics for additional immune checkpoint targets are needed in order to improve immunotherapy treatment.
“We believe that new immune checkpoint inhibitors will significantly enrich the toolbox of immunotherapy treatments and enable a more effective fight against cancer, whether as an independent treatment or in combination with existing approved drugs,” said Dorit Sokolov, Managing Director at aMoon Velocity. “Immune checkpoint inhibitors have already been approved for use in the treatment of various cancerous tumors, but they are effective in a relatively small percentage of patients. We see great value in this investment to help Nectin advance and improve the potential of novel immuno-oncology antibodies.”
“We have developed a series of breakthrough products with revolutionary cancer treatment potential,” said Dr. Pini Tsukerman, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at Nectin Therapeutics. “Our expertise combines in-depth understanding of the evasion mechanisms of cancerous tumors from identification by the immune system together with extensive immunological knowledge. This comprehensive understanding allowed us to select unique molecules as a target for the antibodies we develop. We are currently in advanced development stages of a number of antibodies that can improve therapeutic offerings for cancer patients.”
“We are proud of the technological advances Nectin Therapeutics has made at the forefront of the fight against cancer since its inception by Integra,” said Dr. Liana Patt, CEO of Integra Holdings. “We welcome aMoon as an important investor that has recognized the company’s potential for future development in the field of oncology.”
About Nectin Therapeutics
Established by Integra Holdings in 2017. Nectin therapeutics’ antibodies are based on the discoveries and inventions made by Prof. Ofer Mandelboim from the Immunology & Cancer Research Center at the Hebrew University and Prof. Stipan Jonjic from the Department of Histology and Embryology/Center for Proteomics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka. For more information, please visit http://www.nectintx.com/
aMoon is a global HealthTech VC fund based in Israel, founded by Marius Nacht, Co-Founder of Check Point Software, and Dr. Yair Schindel MD, a Harvard MBA graduate and serial entrepreneur in life science technology who served as the former CMO of the Israeli Navy Seals and CEO of Israel’s National Digital Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office. The fund aims to accelerate cure for life-threatening diseases and reduce major cost-drivers in healthcare, by leveraging the growing convergence of healthcare and technology. aMoon Velocity is an investment vehicle in the aMoon Fund (alongside aMoonI and aMoonII) focused on early-stage, highly disruptive healthcare technologies. Its portfolio companies include Vocalis Health, NanoGhost and Ibex Medical Analytics. For more information, please visit www.amoon.fund
About Integra Holdings
Founded in 2012 by Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, Integra Holdings’ mission is to bring the Hebrew University’s Life Science Academic Excellence to market. Integra Holdings is a unique venture organization with a balanced portfolio of investments, based on an exclusive selection of life science companies, and focused on proprietary, first-in class innovations in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices. Integra Holdings takes a hands-on approach by providing its portfolio companies with the strategic planning, business development and research and development guidance they need to bring their technologies to market. For more information, please visit integraholdings.monimono.com.
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