Specialist oncology company Immatics has received a $58 million funding boost from partners including Amgen, allowing it to further develop a planned series of cancer immunotherapies.

Immatics and Amgen signed a $1.3 billion cancer deal in January, with a view to using Immatics’ XPRESIDENT target discovery and T-cell receptor (TCR) capabilities and Amgen’s validated Bispecific T-cell Engager (BiTE) technology to create novel oncology drugs.

The new, so-called ‘Series E’ funding will be used to progress various projects, several of which focus on T-cells. As well as Amgen, investors included dievini Hopp Biotech holding, Wellington Partners, and AT Impf.

Immatics - based in Tuebingen, Germany and Houston, US – is aiming to put several adoptive cell therapy candidates into clinical trials. Among them are IMA101, an ACTolog endogenous T-cell therapy, and IMA201, an ACTengine approach, which works by getting patients’ own T-cells to express a tumour-specific exogenous TCR and redirecting activated T-cells to the tumour sites.

“During the period covered by this financing we expect to receive initial patient data from the current Immatics' IMA101 and IMA201 adoptive cell therapy clinical trials, as well as commencing trials of further ACTengine candidates,” explained Peter Chambré, Chairman of Immatics.

“We also expect to demonstrate proof of principle for our novel bispecific TCR candidates that, we believe, have significant potential in this emerging field. Immatics' adoptive cell therapies and bispecific TCR candidates are tailored to address cancer targets identified and validated using XPRESIDENT.”

Immatics has successfully persuaded backers that it has the capability to unlock the potential of immune-oncology drugs, such as adoptive cellular therapies, biologicals and vaccines to improve the treatment of a wide range of cancers.

ACTolog and ACTengine were developed by Immatics US in collaboration with MD Anderson, and co-funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. ACTolog T-cell products are generated from peripheral blood cells with defined target selectivity.