Neoantigenics Announces Collaboration with Pfizer, Investment from CIT
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Neoantigenics LLC, a new biotechnology company
founded on discoveries made by Dr. John Herr at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, has entered into an
early-stage research and development collaboration with Pfizer Inc.
The collaboration is focused on the development
of antibody-based therapeutics and companion diagnostics targeting Neoantigenics’
proprietary oocyte-associated biomarkers, which are selectively expressed on a
wide array of human cancers.
In addition to scientific engagement between Neoantigenics
and Pfizer’s scientific teams, Pfizer is making an equity investment in Neoantigenics
through the Pfizer Seed Fund, which supports promising early-stage life science
companies. The investment is part of a
round that included an investment from the Center for Innovative Technology’s
GAP Fund and an award from the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund.
"Our collaboration with Pfizer supports the
unique foundational science behind Neoantigenics, and demonstrates an
innovative way for start-ups like us to effectively work with a leading pharmaceutical
company,” said Brian A. Pollok, founding CEO for Neoantigenics and Entrepreneur-in-Residence
at U.Va. Innovation.
"UVA Innovation is pleased to have worked with
Pfizer, CIT, Neoantigenics’ management and with Dr. Herr to help create a
unique funding model to launch this company,” said Michael P. Straightiff,
director of U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group.
Herr, Neoantigenics’ scientific founder and
inventor of oocyte-associated cancer targets, said the partnership with Pfizer
is an important step in further advancing research that his School of Medicine
team began in the 1990s.
"Our discovery of oocyte-specific membrane proteins,
coupled with an understanding that certain cancers express genes normally
restricted to growing eggs, provides Neoantigenics with a platform strategy to
develop biological drugs that are tumor-selective,” he said.