OneVentures backs cancer biotech ImmVirX in $25 million Series B

- June 5, 2023 2 MIN READ
OneVentures principal Dr Jeannie Joughin
OneVentures principal Dr Jeannie Joughin
Sydney VC OneVentures has pledged $15 million as a cornerstone investment towards a $25 million Series B raise for life sciences startup ImmVirX.

The biotech startup is developing cancer treatments using oncolytic viral immunotherapies (viruses that infect and destroy cancer cells without damaging normal cells).

The remaining $10 million in the Series offered to existing shareholders and others, with several existing backers, including Acorn Capital, agreeing to be part of the round, which will give the business runway for its preclinical and clinical trials, as well as as well as manufacturing and corporate and business development activities, until 2026.

ImmVirX previously raised $22 million in a round led by Acorn in May 2021. The latest round will value the biotech startup at $75 million.

OneVentures principal and biopharmaceutical expert Dr Jeannie Joughin will join the ImmVirX board as part of the deal. She is chair of OneVentures portfolio company BiVACOR and a director of CCRM Australia.

ImmVirX’s new cancer immunotherapy combinations have the potential to not only kill cancer cells but also induce systemic anti-tumour immune responses to treat cancers with high unmet need, including colorectal, gastric, ovarian and liver cancer. Its latests oncolytic virus targets late-stage lung cancer.

Dr Joughin said she is very enthusiastic about the potential for the Newcastle business, cofounded by the team behind the melanoma treatment Viralytics, acquired five years ago by NSYE-listed biopharmaceutical leader Merck/MSD in June 2018 for $502 million.

“ImmVirX is a strategic investment for Fund III, providing a novel oncolytic immunotherapy which has the potential to improve treatment responses alone or when combined with other treatments and provides further diversification to the OneVentures’ Healthcare portfolio,” she said.

“We also see this as a great opportunity to partner with ImmVirX to expand the product pipeline and treat more underserved cancer types with huge market potential.”

In April, ImmVirX announced that it had dosed its first patient in its two-part Phase 1 clinical trial of its bio-selected oncolytic virus, IVX037. The Phase 1a part of the study will assess the virus in patients with late stage colorectal, gastric or ovarian cancer.

Cofounder and CEO Dr Malcolm McColl said the OneVentures investment would allow “The unimpeded clinical development of our existing and planned programs” for treatments.

“Against the backdrop of what’s been a difficult capital market for biotechnology companies, it is testament to the work of our team thus far, and a significant vote of confidence from OneVentures to lead this round of funding,” he said.

“We are thrilled to welcome OneVentures to the register and appreciate the strong ongoing support of our existing shareholders. The new funds will enable us to accelerate the development of our innovative oncolytic viral immunotherapies and bring us closer to our goal of transforming outcomes for patients with some of the most prevalent cancer types.”