Jounce Therapeutics Secures $56 Million to Advance Novel Immuno-Oncology Drugs

Two-year old biotech, Jounce Therapeutics Inc. announced that it has raised a $56 million Series B round, which will be used to develop new immuno-oncology drugs.

Unlike many drugmakers designing therapies that make it harder for cancer to hide from the immune system, Jounce is studying the therapeutic potential of T cells, white blood cells that enable the immune system to adapt and other immune system players, such as innate cells and stromal cells.

The Cambridge-based biotech said that proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Jounce’s pipeline of cancer immunotherapy programs, including moving its lead program directed at Inducible T cell Co-Stimulator (ICOS) into clinical testing, as well as advancing a second program through IND-enabling studies. Additionally, the investment will support expanded discovery of novel treatments aimed at tumors that may be less likely to respond to T cell checkpoint monotherapy, including therapies that target innate immune and stromal cells.

This is the second large round of cash for Jounce since its formation in February 2013 by Third Rock Ventures with a $47 million Series A. The Series B comes from a large group of crossover investors, with new backers including Wellington Management, Redmile Group, Nextech Invest, Pharmastandard International, Comorant Asset Management, Omega Funds, Casdin Capital, Foresite Capital Management and an unnamed blue chip public investment fund.

“We are incredibly pleased to have the support of this group of investors and are in a strong position to advance multiple programs toward human clinical proof of concept studies, including our ICOS against monoclonal antibody,” said Richard Murray, PhD, chief executive officer of Jounce. “Each of these programs leverages Jounce’s translational science platform, which is designed to match the most appropriate patients with new immunotherapies. We believe this approach will be very beneficial in guiding early development and, ultimately, delivering highly effective immunotherapies with durable responses to patients in need of better treatment options.”

The company uses translational science insights to match the right targets to well defined patient populations in order to achieve a higher probability of success and rapid proof-of-concept.

“Jounce has made tremendous progress since launching two years ago, including advancing its innovative translational science approach, patient selection strategies and the discovery of novel therapies. With its founders’ and senior management team’s experience in immunotherapy, Jounce is well positioned to be a leader in the field,” said Cary Pfeffer, MD, partner at Third Rock Ventures and chairman of Jounce’s board of directors.

Source: Jounce Therapeutics, Inc.

Last updated: 4/23/15; 3:55pm EST

 

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