Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Announces $3.75 Million in Financing
Houston, TX, October 9, 2007– Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced it was awarded $1.45 Million by the State of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund. Additionally, the company announced seed financing of $2.3 million. The combined investment will be used for development of the company’s lead product candidate, BP-GMAX-CD1 for patients with advanced, androgen independent prostate cancer. The financing will allow the completion of preclinical development and initiation of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial.
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development of next generation therapeutic vaccines and other immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer. Bellicum’s BP-GMAX-CD1 lead product candidate is a novel dendritic cell vaccine for the treatment of prostate cancer. This vaccine incorporates a drugactivated CD40 gene, which acts as a pharmacologically regulated switch to boost the potency and enhance the durability of the anti-cancer immune response (see, Hanks, et al, Nature Medicine 2005, 11:130).
“We are honored to receive this award from the Emerging Technology Fund,” stated CEO Tom Farrell. “It’s a testament to the strength of our science and the potential of the company to have a meaningful impact on the lives of cancer patients. The State’s financial support, together with the seed capital provided by local angel investors, allows us to advance our lead product into the clinic, where we have a near-term opportunity to demonstrate human proof of concept.”
The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the Governor’s request. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential TETF projects and recommends funding for projects to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House. To date, the TETF has allocated $76.8 million in grant funds to Texas companies and universities. For more information on the TETF, please visit www.emergingtechfund.com.
Kevin Slawin, M.D., Bellicum Founder and Director of the Vanguard Urologic Institute and the Texas Prostate Center, and Director of Urology at Memorial Hermann Hospital – TMC, has dedicated his career to battling the significant problem of prostate cancer that men face. “I’m excited to see our hard work reaching this important milestone and poised to begin testing in advanced prostate cancer patients here in Houston in the New Year”, Slawin commented. “While vaccines currently in development by others are extremely well tolerated, their efficacy has been marginal at best. BP-GMAX-CD1 eliminates the shortcomings of these other approaches, and if it works for prostate cancer patients, we will have a platform that can be adapted to target any type of cancer.”
About Bellicum Pharmaceuticals
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development of next generation therapeutic vaccines and other immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer. Founded in July 2004 by Professors Kevin M. Slawin, M.D. and David M. Spencer, Ph.D., the company is developing clinical products based on novel and powerful vaccine strategies developed at Baylor College of Medicine. The company’s lead product, BP-GMAX-CD1, a genetically modified, pharmacologically regulated autologous vaccine, is in late stage preclinical development for patients with advanced, androgen independent prostate cancer. BPGMAX- CD1 and follow-on product candidates have been successfully tested in mouse models and human dendritic cells. The company owns or has in-licensed certain key technologies, and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Farrell has assembled a team of seasoned clinical, regulatory, quality and CMC consultants to advance product candidates into human clinical trials. Bellicum is a client of the Houston Technology Center. For more information, visithttp://www.bellicum.com