Clinical-stage biotechnology company Bolt Biotherapeutics announced today that it has completed a $93.5 million Series C round of financing, led by Sofinnova Investments. New investors, including RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital and Samsara BioCapital, also participated in the funding initiative.
Bolt is currently working on developing a new category of immunotherapies that use antibody targeting with the power of the innate immune system. Since its founding back in 2015, the company has raised more than $170 million. This latest funding round will be used to support the clinical development of its lead Immune-Stimulating Antibody Conjugate (ISAC), BDC-1001. It is delivered systemically as a monotherapy for HER2-expressing cancers.
“The support from this marquee group of biotech investors is a testament to what we have recently accomplished, in particular the start of our first clinical trial for BDC-1001,” said Randall Schatzman, Ph.D., the company’s chief executive officer. “We have built a strong team with expertise in key drug development areas, and this financing round will enable us to drive our ongoing clinical study and pipeline development work forward expeditiously. The Bolt technology has potential to significantly improve how we treat certain cancers and promises durable responses for patients. In addition to BDC-1001, we are currently on track to nominate our next clinical candidates later this year.”
Bolt announced back in March that it had begun a clinical trial for BDC-1001 involving patients with HER2-expressed solid tumors. The Phase I, open-label, dose-escalation and dose expansion study will evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and proof of mechanism of BDC-1001.
“Bolt is eager to explore the potential of BDC-1001 for treating HER2-expressing cancers, which includes patients with breast and gastric cancers that are refractory to Herceptin and Kadcyla, as well as cancers for which no HER2-targeting therapies have yet been approved,” Schatzman said at the time of the announcement. “We look forward to working with the medical community to bring the promise of this exciting new approach to patients and anticipate initial data will drive our future development plans.”
Since the initiation of this Phase I trial, Bolt has also specified that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the company with a patent titled, “Antibody Adjuvant Conjugates.” It provides protection for immunoconjugates of a piperazinyl imidazoquinoline adjuvant bound to any antibody, including Bolt’s BDC-1001 ISAC embodiment.
“This patent issuance is an important milestone that provides protection for our BDC-1001 clinical asset and our Boltbody™ ISAC technology platform,” said Michael N. Alonso, Ph.D., scientific co-founder and vice president of immunology and pharmacology of Bolt. “Our dedicated and talented teams will continue to aggressively build a robust patent portfolio to protect our pipeline, our platform, and our commitment to patients.”
The Boltbody platform consists of ISACs that use the ability of innate immune agonists to convert cold tumors into immunologically hot tumors. This illuminates tumors to the immune system and allows them to be invaded by tumor-killing cells. Previous research shows that Boltbody ISACs can eliminate tumors following systemic administration in preclinical models.
Bolt’s platform technology can be used for a broad spectrum of antibodies targeting tumor antigens expressed on all types of cancer. This includes patients who are refractory to the existing generation of checkpoint inhibitors.
The Bay Area company is currently financed by investors including Novo Holdings, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Vivo Capital and Nan Fung Life Sciences.