Oslo-centered startup Zelluna Immunotherapy has received investment from Takeda Ventures, the strategic investing arm of Takeda which is a manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of pharmaceutical products. The startup develops a portfolio of tumour-specific TCRs to guide NK cells with the aim to induce cancer responses that are safe, efficient, and durable. Thanks to the investment, Zelluna will be able to proceed with the advancement of Zelluna’s platform with additional programs reaching the preclinical stage as well as the advancement of a lead TCR-NK product through manufacturing to Clinical Trial Application (CTA) / Investigational New Drug Application (IND) readiness.
Zelluna Immunotherapy is pioneering the use of T cell receptors (TCRs) to guide and enable natural killer (NK) cells to eradicate tumours. They are combining the broad target range of TCRs with the high potency and allogeneic nature of NK cells to generate innovative cell therapy products that can be supplied in an “off-the-shelf” fashion to treat patients with solid tumours and high unmet medical needs.
“This announcement signifies a pivotal moment in Zelluna’s evolution. The investment by TVI supports our efforts to develop a novel and proprietary TCR-NK technology platform, and reinforces the strength of our science, IP portfolio, and the expertise of the people across the company. We believe TVI makes for a highly fitting investment partner given Takeda’s immuno-oncology research focus and ongoing efforts to develop allogenic cell therapies. We are excited that TVI shares our view of the potential of the TCR-NK platform technology and look forward to working together on our pioneering journey, ” said Namir Hassan, CEO at Zelluna.
“As part of our R&D partnership strategy, we invest in early-stage opportunities that complement Takeda’s pipeline and products,” said Miles Gerson, Senior Investment Director and Partner at Takeda Ventures, Inc. “Zelluna’s novel approach to TCR based cell therapies aligns with Takeda’s ambition to broaden the impact of immunotherapies by leveraging the power of the innate immune system. We are pleased to support Zelluna as they look to progress their TCR-NK platform toward the clinic.”
“We are delighted to have TVI as a strategic investor in Zelluna. The Company has developed very well from its inception and made significant progress with our TCR-NK technology. This investment from TVI opens further opportunities to fully exploit the potential of our TCR-NK products. I am also delighted that Miles Gerson, Senior Investment Director and Partner at TVI, will be joining the Zelluna board of directors and have no doubt he will make a great addition to our strong team,” said Hans Ivar Robinson, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Zelluna.