Pepscan Systems NV, an immunotherapy specialist, has raised €7 million in a second-round funding that will enable it to take its prostate cancer vaccine into Phase IIa trials. This was a local affair, with all the investors based in the Netherlands. The round was led by BioX Biosciences BV, with Lupus Ventures, PPM Oost and Technofund Flevoland.
The company span out of the Department of Molecular Recognition at
the Institute for Animal Science and Health in Lelystad, the
Netherlands in 1999. Initially, it concentrated on supplying peptides,
but more recently has applied its CLIPS (Chemically linked peptides on
scaffolds) technology platform to transform itself into a vaccines
development company. The institute is now known as the Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research Centre.
The prostate cancer vaccine has had a tortuous route through to Phase IIa, having been partnered originally with PowderJect Pharmaceuticals of Oxford, UK. It survived the post-merger cull when PowderJect was acquired by Chiron Inc, and made the cut again when Novartis bought the U.S. vaccines company.
In addition, Pepscan is developing a pancreatic cancer vaccine and a bone metastases vaccine.