4BIO Capital Portfolio Company Carisma to Collaborate with Moderna to Develop in vivo Engineered Chimeric Antigen Receptor Monocytes (CAR-M) for Oncology
Collaboration will combine Carisma’s engineered macrophage technology with Moderna’s mRNA and LNP technologies to generate and develop in vivo CAR-M therapeutics
Multi-year research collaboration funded by Moderna with options for up to twelve targets
Carisma to receive $45 million up-front cash payment and investment by Moderna in the form of a $35 million convertible note
Carisma eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments
10 January 2022
LONDON & BOSTON – 4BIO Capital (“4BIO” or “the Group”), an international venture capital firm focused solely on the advanced therapies sector, today announces that its portfolio company Carisma Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical pioneer in engineered macrophage-based therapeutics, has entered into a strategic collaboration with Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA), a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines. The agreement will see the two companies collaborate to discover, develop and commercialize in vivo engineered chimeric antigen receptor monocyte (CAR-M) therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Carisma will receive a $45 million up-front cash payment and an investment by Moderna in the form of a $35 million convertible note. Carisma will receive research funding and is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, plus royalties on net sales of any products that are commercialized under the agreement. Carisma will be responsible for the discovery and optimization of development candidates while Moderna will lead the clinical development and commercialization of therapeutics resulting from the agreement. Moderna has the option to nominate up to twelve targets for development and commercialization.
Dima Kuzmin, Managing Partner at 4BIO Capital, commented: “We have been convinced right from the start of the transformative potential of Carisma’s exciting proprietary engineered macrophage platform in oncology, especially in solid tumours. We are delighted to see this further validated by the collaboration with Moderna and its investment in the company. We look forward to seeing the further expansion of Carisma’s pipeline with the support of Moderna’s core mRNA and LNP capabilities.”
Steven Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Carisma, said: “Moderna’s deep expertise in mRNA and LNP technologies opens up a potentially game-changing opportunity for engineered macrophages. In vivo delivery directly to monocytes and macrophages enables an off-the-shelf therapeutic approach that uses the patients’ own cells to provide a truly personalized treatment. By combining Carisma’s expertise in engineered macrophage biology and Moderna’s pioneering in vivo mRNA delivery technologies, we are excited about the potential of this novel therapeutic approach for treating cancer. We are thrilled to be working with Moderna.”
Stephen Hoge, President of Moderna, said: “We are excited to begin this collaboration with Carisma to further expand our oncology pipeline with a differentiated in vivo cell-therapy approach,” said. “This exemplifies our strategy to partner with companies with deep biological expertise while leveraging Moderna’s core mRNA and LNP capabilities to further expand the reach of Moderna’s technology.”
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About 4BIO Capital
4BIO Capital is an international venture capital firm focused solely on the advanced therapies sector.
4BIO’s objective is to invest in, support, and grow early stage companies developing treatments in areas of high unmet medical need, with the ultimate goal of ensuring access to these potentially curative therapies for all patients. Specifically, it looks for viable, high-quality opportunities in cell and gene therapy, RNA-based therapy, targeted therapies, and the microbiome.
The 4BIO team comprises leading advanced therapy scientists and experienced life science investors who have collectively published over 250 scientific articles in prestigious academic journals including Nature, The Lancet, Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine. 4BIO has both an unrivalled network within the advanced therapy sector and a unique understanding of the criteria that define a successful investment opportunity in this space.
For more information, please visit www.4biocapital.com
About Carisma Therapeutics
Carisma is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing a differentiated and proprietary cell therapy platform focused on engineered macrophages, cells that play a crucial role in both the innate and adaptive immune response. The first applications of the platform, developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, are autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-macrophages for the treatment of solid tumors. Carisma is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.
For more information, please visit www.carismatx.com
In 10 years since its inception, Moderna has transformed from a research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across six modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas including mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation, and an integrated manufacturing plant that allows for both clinical and commercial production at scale and at unprecedented speed. Moderna maintains alliances with a broad range of domestic and overseas government and commercial collaborators, which has allowed for the pursuit of both groundbreaking science and rapid scaling of manufacturing. Most recently, Moderna’s capabilities have come together to allow the authorized use of one of the earliest and most-effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moderna’s mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, and has allowed the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases and auto-immune diseases. Moderna has been named a top biopharmaceutical employer by Science for the past seven years. To learn more, visit www.modernatx.com.