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Indapta Therapeutics Raises $50 Million, Names CEO

February 10, 2022

Indapta Therapeutics, which is developing a natural killer (NK) cell therapy platform for the treatment of blood and solid tumor cancers, said it raised more than $50 million in a series A financing and appointed industry veteran Mark Frohlich as the company’s new CEO.

Photo: Mark Frohlich, CEO of Indapta Therapeutics

RA Capital Management, Vertex Ventures HC, and Leaps by Bayer led the round. The Myeloma Investment Fund, the venture philanthropy subsidiary of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Lonza also participated in the financing.

Indapta Therapeutics is developing a universal, allogeneic G-NK cell therapy designed to substantially improve the cytotoxicity of monoclonal antibody therapy in multiple cancers. G-NK cells are a specific and potent subset of NK (natural killer) cells with specialized anti-tumor activity resulting from an epigenetic change rather than engineering. Indapta has further enhanced G-NK cells via specific G-NK cell subset selection and its proprietary manufacturing process, which, when combined, produce a G-NK cell therapy that demonstrates higher efficacy, persistence and enhanced cryopreservation.

When a mAb binds to the tumor target and Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy, it initiates the release of dramatically more cancer-killing compounds than conventional NK cells, allowing for increased efficacy and potentially less frequent dosing. Indapta’s off-the-shelf G-NK cell therapy is further differentiated from other NK cell therapies in that it is a cell banked product with low variability. In vivo studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy.

Indapta is partnering with Lonza, a world-leading cell therapy manufacturer, to manufacture G-NK cells for use in clinical trials. Indapta will leverage Lonza’s process development capabilities and expertise to ensure robust, reproducible and scalable clinical good manufacturing processes (cGMP).

Frohlich succeeds Indapta co-founder Guy DiPierro, who has taken on the position of chief strategy officer.

Frohlich has more than 25 years of experience developing cellular immunotherapies to treat cancer. He previously served as executive vice president of portfolio strategy at Juno Therapeutics, which developed the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy Breyanzi for large B-cell lymphoma, until the company was sold to Celgene, now part of Bristol Myers Squibb.

Before Juno, Frohlich was chief medical officer and executive vice president at Dendreon Corporation, a pioneer in the development of cellular immunotherapy. At Dendreon, he led the clinical team responsible for the development and U.S. and European regulatory approval of Provenge, one of the first commercially available cancer immunotherapies.

“Mark is perfectly suited to lead Indapta as we move our unique G-NK cell therapy closer to clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma and lymphoma,” said Ronald Martell, co-founder and chairman of the board. “His biopharma management pedigree, successful drug development track record and scientific acumen, together with our Series A financing from such an experienced syndicate of investors, will accelerate our ability to bring this innovative therapy to patients.”

In connection with the financing, RA Capital Management Principal Laura Stoppel, Vertex Venture HC Managing Director Lori Hu, and Leaps by Bayer Senior Director of Venture Investments Fabio Pucci joined Indapta’s board of directors.

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