Tessa Therapeutics secures US$80 million to change cancer therapy

Wed Dec 20, 2017 - 5:39am GMT+0000
Tessa Therapeutics raises US$80 million to bring transformational change to cancer therapy
Tessa Therapeutics raises US$80 million to bring transformational change to cancer therapy

Tessa Therapeutics, cancer therapy

20/12/2017 – Tessa Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Singapore has today secured a US$80 million funding led by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, alongside with the participation from EDBI, Karst Peak Capital, Heliconia Capital Management, Heritas, and other investors.

The proceedings will be used to further advance the biopharmaceutical firm’s clinical pipeline and to research new therapies, based on the company’s Virus-Specific T cell (VST) platform that is currently undergoing clinical trials.

“We are very pleased with the success in this financing round,” said Andrew Khoo, the CEO of Tessa Therapeutics. “It validates our continuous work and progress in the development of Tessa’s Virus-Specific T cell platform technology and clinical pipeline.”

Moving forward, Tessa Therapeutic plans to expand its global presence in addition to advancing the next-generation cellular therapies targeting a wide range of cancer indications.

At present, the company said it’s VST Technology has demonstrated compelling results in the treatment for solid tumors and is currently conducting a multicenter Phase III trial targeting nasopharyngeal cancer and a Phase I trial targeting cervical cancer and oropharyngeal cancer.

Virus-Specific T cells are produced through a selective expansion process that gives them the ability to infiltrate and survive in solid tumors long enough to attack and destroy them from within.

Compared to other cell therapies, Tessa’s VST works in the way that it migrates to the tumor site and kill cancer cells with precision leaving healthy cells unharmed and leading to high treatment efficacy and safety.

On a global scale, there are reportedly about 50,000 deaths from the 86,500 nasopharyngeal cancer cases discovered annually.

Specifically, 71 percent of new nasopharyngeal cancer cases are recorded in East and Southeast Asia while 14 percent are diagnosed in South and Central Asia and North and East Africa.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is native to Southeast Asia, where prevalence rate is 15 to 50 cases per 100,000 people. Its incidence and mortality rates are higher in Southeast Asia countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Founded in 2001, the biopharmaceutical firm is set up by Francis Chua, Andrew Khoo, and Dr. Malcolm Brenner. The company describes itself as an international clinical stage company focusing on T cell therapy for solid tumors.

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Vivian Foo is a reporter who writes about Southeast Asia’s technology and startup space. The entry point which led her to write about the startup ecosystem was her fascination of the dot-com boom. She is taking a deep dive into how the entrepreneurial mindset works and hopes to share the insights, innovation, and stories of the startups with her readers.