Lion TCR, a Singapore-based clinical-stage T-cell immunotherapy company, has announced the successful completion of its $40 million Series B2 financing round.

Guangzhou Industrial Investment and Capital Operation Holding Group Ltd. led the financing with participation from Guangzhou Guoju Investment and CSPC NARD Capital Fund, Lion TCR said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the funds raised will be used primarily to support Lion TCR’s clinical trials on hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific TCR T cell therapy, while also facilitating the construction of a state-of-the-art GMP facility in China.

It said this momentous achievement will further accelerate the development of cutting-edge technology platforms and the advancement of Lion TCR’s product pipelines.

Dr. Peng Xiaoming, Chief Executive Officer of Lion TCR, has expressed that the recent financing round will provide vital support for their product pipeline and international collaborations, with a primary goal of fostering a robust biotechnology ecosystem in Singapore and the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area.

“Lion TCR strives to become a beacon of excellence in the field of cell therapy, with a strong commitment to benefiting patients and society at large,” he said.

It is noted that as part of their strategic vision, in June 2022, Lion TCR entered into an agreement with the Huangpu District Government of Guangzhou to establish their Chinese headquarters in China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City.

This strategic move empowers the company to leverage Guangzhou’s resources and government support, thereby creating a comprehensive foundation for research, development, GMP production, and clinical trials.

By covering the entire life cycle of cell product manufacturing, Lion TCR said it aims to effectively address the healthcare needs of Chinese patients, aligning with their mission of advancing innovative technologies for the betterment of patients worldwide.

Lion TCR originated as a spin-off from A*STAR in Singapore in 2015 with the objective of advancing its groundbreaking HBV TCR-T cell therapy.

This innovative therapy utilizes mRNA to encode HBV specific T cell receptors within patients’ T cells, enabling the targeting of HBV epitopes expressed in liver cancer cells.

Encouragingly, clinical trials have demonstrated favorable safety and efficacy outcomes.

Leveraging its established mRNA technology and TCR discovery platforms, Lion TCR has significantly broadened its repertoire of clinical targets, particularly those associated with solid tumors.

The company’s expertise in these areas facilitates the delivery of autologous cell therapy and ‘off-the-shelf’ modalities.

As a result, Lion TCR is poised to develop a robust pipeline of treatments targeting various solid cancers and chronic viral diseases, including chronic Hepatitis B, which is strongly linked to liver cancer.

It is noted that Lion TCR has successfully obtained IND approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its international multi-center Phase 1b/2 IND clinical trial.

Notably, this trial marks the world’s first FDA-approved international multi-center clinical trial utilizing TCR-T therapy for the treatment of HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma.

The enrollment of patients has commenced, and several individuals are already undergoing treatment.

Additionally, the investigational product has received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA.

Guangzhou Industrial Investment and Capital Operation Holding Group Ltd. is a prominent holding group with a significant presence in the market. It holds controlling stakes in more than ten listed companies, including notable entities such as Guangzhou Automobile Group and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Group, along with leading enterprises like Yuexiu Enterprises (Holdings) Ltd. and Guoxin Securities Co., Ltd.

The group has also taken the lead in establishing and managing esteemed funds, such as the Guangzhou Industrial Investment Fund and the Guangzhou Innovation Investment Fund.

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