Merck Ventures has become the latest group to invest in Macrophage Pharma and take a position on the UK biotech’s board of directors.
The venture capital arm of German drugmaker Merck is streaming new funds into the group equal to that already provided individually by existing investors the CRT Pioneer Fund (CPF), Novo Holdings A/S and Aglaia Biomedical Ventures BV.
The financing will enable the company to complete the first clinical study of its lead development candidate, a macrophage targeted p38MAP kinase inhibitor, which is pencilled in for early next year, as well as advancing two additional discovery candidates into preclinical development.
The company said it is also planning to utilise the extra capital by adding a fourth macrophage-targeted project into its pipeline.
"We are excited to join this experienced management team and investor syndicate to help translate this immuno-oncology pipeline into clinical development,” commented Hakan Goker, senior investment director at Merck Ventures.
“Macrophage Pharma impressed us with the initial data generated. The differentiated, novel approach they are following in the TME offers promise for the immuno-oncology armoury of clinicians to address a broad range of cancers."
Founded by CPF, the Marcrophage recently raised £9 million in a Series A financing round, led by CPF and specialist investors Novo Holdings and Aglaia Biomedical Ventures.
The company says its technology platform is designed to deliver small molecule drugs to tumour associated macrophages in a highly selective manner to activate the body’s natural immune system to fight cancer.