The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) continued its strong support of Southlake-based OncoNano Medicine today by announcing it will convert $18.4 million in grant award funding into an equity investment in OncoNano.
This conversion will close OncoNano’s Series B financing round with $68.4 million in total committed capital. Now—after years of supporting OncoNano’s research through CPRIT—the state of Texas stands to benefit directly from the company’s technology and the potential therapies it could lead to.
OncoNano will use proceeds of the financing to support the clinical development of pegsitacianine, a real-time imaging agent used in intraoperative surgical resection of solid tumors. The proceeds will also accelerate the advancement of the company’s first internal therapeutic development program, ONM-501, a novel immune-therapeutic formulated with the company’s core delivery technology.
CPRIT awarded OncoNano $20M in 2019 and 2020
In 2020, CPRIT awarded OncoNano a $10 million grant to advance pegsitacianine, the company’s IV fluorescent nanoprobe for use in image-guided cancer surgeries. Using pH as a biomarker to detect metastatic cancer, the technology “lights up” a tumor in imaging during real-time surgery.
After this new CPRIT investment, OncoNano will still have $6.97 million of the 2020 grant available to advance the use of pegsitacianine in the visualization and resection of metastatic disease.
In 2019, CPRIT awarded a $15.4 million grant to OncoNano to advance the company’s differentiated STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) agonist development candidate, ONM-501.
CEO Martin Driscoll: ‘Life sciences takes a lot of capital’
OncoNano CEO Martin Driscoll spoke on a BioNorthTexas panel earlier this month. He joined the company just last January, and has now been CEO of five biopharmaceutical development firms, including two publicly traded companies.
“If you’re in oncology in Texas, CPRIT is a remarkable source,” Driscoll said at the BioNorthTexas event. “They really helped Onconano get off the ground in 2014.”
Driscoll helped explain the recurring CPRIT grants by saying, “Whether you’re an established company, life sciences takes a lot of capital.”
“CPRIT has played a crucial role in the establishment and advancement of the expanding life sciences research community in Texas,” he added in a statement today. “We’re thrilled to continue our close partnership with CPRIT and welcome them as shareholders in OncoNano through this conversion of earlier grant awards to an equity investment in our over-subscribed Series B financing.”
Accelerating programs, expanding operations
“With the continued support of our investors—including this infusion of new capital from CPRIT—we can accelerate the development of our novel programs and expand our operations in North Texas,” Driscoll added in the statement. “Our successful Series B financing will be instrumental in advancing pegsitacianine into a pivotal trial program in the U.S. and Europe and advance ONM-501 to a first in human trial in early 2023.”
“We look forward to working together with CPRIT and our partners to bring important new interventions and treatments to cancer patients in need,” he said.
CPRIT was established in 2007 to invest $3B in fighting cancer
CPRIT was launched in 2007 to invest $3 billion in fighting cancer in the state of Texas. It’s now a $6 billion, 20-year initiative—the largest state cancer research investment in the U.S., and the second largest cancer research and prevention program on earth.
You can learn more about CPRIT here.
OncoNano technology came out of UT Southwestern
At the BioNorthTexas event, Driscoll noted that OncoNano’s breakthrough technology came out of UT Southwestern Medical Center, in the laboratory of Prof. Jinming Gao, PhD. Dr. Gao is OncoNano’s co-founder and chief scientific officer.
Just last month, Dallas Innovates wrote about how OncoNano is expanding its research collaboration with UT Southwestern to advance new cancer therapies.
“The technology at Onconano came out of Southwestern,” Driscoll noted during the BioNorthTexas panel discussion, adding that “there’s tremendous science there.”
CPRIT supported Dr. Gao’s initial research at UT Southwestern
CPRIT CEO Wayne Roberts noted today that CPRIT had supported the initial research by Dr. Gao at UT Southwestern.
“CPRIT supported the initial research in Dr. Gao’s laboratory at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center that led to the therapies OncoNano Medicine is commercially developing today,” Roberts said in the statement. “We’re thrilled to see the company translating that groundbreaking research into products to improve cancer patient care. With the additional equity investment in OncoNano Medicine, CPRIT helps secure Texas’ investment in, and ability to benefit from, this technology and the potential therapies it could produce.”
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