Biotech startup Novasenta completes $40m Series A to advance novel cancer therapeutics
Novasenta, a biotechnology startup focused on the discovery and validation of novel targets to develop cancer therapies, today announced the completion of $40 million in Series A financing led by UPMC Enterprises, the innovation, venture capital and commercialization arm of leading health system UPMC. The funding will allow Novasenta to advance its pipeline of antibody-based therapeutics and expand its proprietary computational platforms for target discovery, while continuing to recruit top talent.
Novasenta comprehensively maps the tumor microenvironment - the network of cells and structures that surround and interact with tumor cells inside the body — to develop immunotherapies that enable the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Co-founded in late 2018 by Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., Dario Vignali, Ph.D., and Greg Delgoffe, Ph.D., all of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh, Novasenta is building on decades of research in the fields of tumor biology, immunology, computational biology and drug discovery.
Mani Mohindru, CEO, Novasenta: ''With our significant Series A funding, Novasenta expects to move at least one of our three nominated programs into the clinic by 2024, with the potential to transform care for patients with solid tumors. Our partnership with UPMC and UPMC Enterprises, especially in these challenging times, is just one of many advantages driving the growth of Novasenta. Our unique target discovery and validation platform, access to patient tumor samples and the expertise of our founders are critical advantages as we strive to bring life-saving therapies to market. The company has expanded its senior management team in the past 12 months, attracting leaders with proven industry expertise and drug development success.''
Through its relationship with UPMC, the company has access to high-quality human tumor samples representing more than a dozen solid tumor types across various stages of disease and treatment for single-cell level analysis of gene expression profiles. This differentiated approach enables Novasenta's discovery of novel druggable targets and development of therapeutics.
Jeanne Cunicelli, President, UPMC Enterprises: "We're excited to continue our significant support for Novasenta, whose programs promise to produce the next generation of novel immuno-oncology drug candidates that can potentially transform the lives of patients with cancer."
Part of $24 billion health care provider and insurer UPMC, based in Pittsburgh, UPMC Enterprises is focused on two key areas: translational sciences and digital solutions. It provides its portfolio companies and partners with capital, connections and resources to develop solutions to health care's most complex problems.
Working in close collaboration with innovators from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, as well as others worldwide, UPMC Enterprises strives to accelerate science from the bench to the bedside and has committed to investing $1 billion in novel drugs, diagnostics and devices by 2024.