Hong Kong-based biotech firm Immuno Cure BioTech (Immuno Cure) announced Thursday that it has closed the $12 million tranche in the $27 million Series A fundraising round.

Led by the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund that Gobi Partners GBA (Gobi GBA) manages, this round will be used to accelerate the development of DNA vaccines and antibodies, as well as to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, Immuno Cure said in a statement.

Immuno Cure is a clinical stage biotechnology group based in the Hong Kong Science Park.

The firm focuses on research and development of immunotherapies for cancers, inflammatory and infectious diseases based on its patented “PD-1-enhanced DNA Vaccine Platform” and “Anti-Δ42PD1 Antibody Platform” with two DNA vaccine candidates, ICVAX and ICCOV, currently in clinical trials.

“This funding round is a landmark in Immuno Cure’s business expansion. We are honored to receive strong support from the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, which affirms the recognition of our scientific merits and R&D achievements,” said Dr. Xia JIN, Chief Executive Officer of Immuno Cure.

According to him, Immuno Cure will continue to be at the frontier of DNA medicines, antibodies and innovative immunotherapies, conducting R&D on novel and effective vaccine technologies to enhance the firm’s arsenal against cancers and infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, Gobi Partners GBA Managing Partner Chibo Tang said that infectious diseases are a universal issue that has threatened global public health for many years and has further been highlighted by COVID-19.

“We believe that Immuno Cure’s technologies have innovative applications of immunotherapies for not only infectious diseases but also cancers and other ailments down the line, and have the potential to truly change the world,” he said.

According to the statement, ICVAX, a therapeutic DNA vaccine candidate against HIV/AIDS, was developed with an aim to induce broadly reactive polyfunctional viral-specific T cells to achieve functional cure in HIV/AIDS.

The Phase I clinical trial of ICVAX, which is underway in Shenzhen, is designed as a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of ICVAX in a total of 45 stable HIV/AIDS patient volunteers under antiretroviral therapy.

ICCOV, a preventive COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidate, has entered the Phase IIa clinical trial in Hong Kong, which is designed as an open-label study to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of ICCOV as a booster vaccine in a total of 60 healthy adult volunteers between 18 and 75 years of age.

Furthermore, Immuno Cure has made significant achievements on the Anti-Δ42PD1 Antibody platform, which utilizes antibodies targeting Δ42PD1, a recently discovered isoformic programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), for the restoration of function of killer T cells, a type of immune cells essential for killing cancer cells, for the treatment of cancers such as liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

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