NKT Therapeutics Raises $8 Million

NKT Therapeutics Inc., a Newton, Mass.-based developer of therapeutics based on immune cells called natural killer T (NKT) cells, has raised $8 million in Series A funding co-led by SV Life Sciences and MedImmune Ventures.




NKT Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, today announced that it has closed an $8M Series A venture financing co-led by SV Life Sciences (SVLS) and MedImmune Ventures. As part of the transaction, Michael Ross, Ph.D., Managing Partner at SVLS, and Joseph Amprey, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Managing Director of MedImmune Ventures, joined the NKT Therapeutics board.


“Natural Killer T (NKT) cells play a pivotal role in human health and disease, controlling the type and magnitude of the body’s innate immune response against infectious agents and cancer, as well as the undesirable immune reactions associated with asthma and autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. Ross. “Thus by selectively activating or depleting NKT function, NKT Therapeutics’ approach has the potential to treat a wide range of important diseases as well as provide new avenues for vaccine creation.”


“Based on its strong understanding of this unique area of biology, NKT has already created an early-stage pipeline of therapeutic leads against multiple targets,” commented Dr. Amprey. “With asthma selected as the lead program and a specific anti-NKT antibody in pre-IND development, we look forward to seeing the company build a portfolio of exciting product candidates for opportunities that can help address important medical needs.”


“I am very excited to lead the development of this very promising technology, whose broad potential for addressing major health care needs is underscored by this successful financing,” said Robert Mashal, M.D., NKT Therapeutics President and Chief Executive Officer.


NKT Therapeutics has licensed an extensive intellectual property portfolio from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. This IP is based on the work of the company’s three scientific co-founders – Steven Balk, M.D. Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Oncology; S. Brian Wilson, M.D. Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, MGH Diabetes Unit; and Mark Exley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology. The Company’s scientific co-founders are all faculty members of Harvard Medical School.


About SV Life Sciences


SV Life Sciences is a venture capital adviser and manager that makes selected investments in businesses with experienced entrepreneurs and management teams. SV Life Sciences provides finance to businesses at all stages of development and across the human life sciences sector. These sectors range from biotechnology & pharmaceuticals to medical devices & instruments, to healthcare information technology and services. SV Life Sciences currently advises or manages five funds with capital commitments of approximately $1.6 billion that primarily invest amounts of between $1m and $20m in North America and Europe, but will consider innovative investments in other regions. SV Life Sciences team of 34 professionals has a diverse, complimentary set of skills and experience that allow SV Life Sciences to tailor a team to work with almost any life sciences business. SVLS was established in 1993 and currently has offices in Boston, San Francisco and London. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.svlsa.com.


About MedImmune Ventures


MedImmune Ventures is a wholly owned venture capital fund within the AstraZeneca/MedImmune group of companies. It was created in 2002 to leverage MedImmune’s expertise in discovering, developing and commercializing biotechnology products, as well as its financial resources, to transform new ideas in biotechnology into successful products and companies. MedImmune Ventures invests in early- to late-stage, public or private biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. MedImmune Ventures primarily seeks to invest in areas of strategic interest to AstraZeneca and MedImmune, including infectious diseases, cancer, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, pain and central nervous system disorders, and gastrointestinal disease. For more information, please visit http://www.medimmune.com/ventures/overview.asp.


About NKT Therapeutics, Inc.


NKT Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics based on unique immune cells called natural killer T (NKT) cells. The company’s mission is to use its expertise to develop a pipeline of first-in-class NKT-based therapeutics to treat cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, asthma and dermatitis. For more information on the company, please visit http://www.nktrx.com.