Immunotherapy company developing next-generation, transformative therapies for the treatment of solid tumors and other immune-mediated diseases in broad patient populations
Company secured exclusive license with Stanford University for novel TCR-mimetic discovery platform and development stage MAGE-A3 TCRs
Stefan Scherer, M.D., Ph.D., named president and CEO, and Christopher DeRespino, MBA, appointed chief business officer
Sean Harper, M.D., named board chair and Scientific Advisory Board led by K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., world-renowned molecular biologist, T-cell receptor expert, and scientific co-founder
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., August 25, 2022 – 3T Biosciences (“3T”), an immunotherapy company changing the future of treatment for solid tumors and other immune-mediated diseases, today announced its launch from stealth backed by $40 million Series A financing led by Westlake Village BioPartners (“Westlake”) with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners (“Lightspeed”). As part of its launch, 3T announced it has exclusively in-licensed from Stanford University a precise antibody-based peptide-HLA therapeutic discovery platform and development-stage MAGE-A3 T-cell receptor (TCR)-T assets to rapidly expand 3T’s therapeutic portfolio.
The Company also announced the appointment of Stefan J. Scherer, M.D., Ph.D., as president and chief executive officer (CEO), and Christopher (Chris) J. DeRespino, MBA, as chief business officer. In addition, the Company named its board of directors, chaired by Sean Harper, M.D., a co-founding managing director at Westlake, and its Scientific Advisory Board, led by K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost experts in TCRs and scientific co-founder. Proceeds from the financing will be used to help accelerate 3T from a research-focused company to a clinical-stage company by bringing novel targets into clinical development.
“On behalf of the entire team at 3T Biosciences, we are thrilled to launch with support from this outstanding syndicate of blue-chip investors,” said Dr. Scherer. “3T’s best-in-class 3T-TRACE discovery platform has the ability to transform the treatment of cancers and beyond. The combination of the TCR-mimetic discovery platform with the 3T-TRACE platform uniquely positions 3T to rapidly generate therapeutics targeting pHLA targets that are devoid of off-target cross-reactivity targeting. It is the ultimate one-two punch to enhance the discovery pipeline from novel target discovery to best-in-class pHLA targeting therapeutics.
“This financing will position us to rapidly build out toward clinical programs to gain direct proof that cancer can be targeted using 3T’s innovative approach. I look forward to working with our tremendous board of directors, world-renowned Scientific Advisory Board, and leadership team to advance our pipeline so that we can help patients as quickly as possible,” added Dr. Scherer.
3T Biosciences’ proprietary technology – 3T-TRACE (T-Cell Receptor Antigen and Cross-Reactivity Engine) – identifies the most prevalent and immunogenic targets in solid tumors by combining high-diversity target libraries with active machine learning. Starting with a productive response from patients, 3T can identify and leverage shared targets and therapeutically active TCRs and T-cell receptor mimetics (TCRms). 3T-TRACE addresses two major challenges in current immunotherapy development: 1) identifying novel shared TCR targets of productive immune responses against solid tumors and other diseases; and 2) comprehensively screening TCRs and TCRms for specificity and off-target cross-reactivities, with the potential to create tumor-specific, safer therapies that can be delivered at higher doses.
By leveraging the power of the immune system to recognize, target, and destroy cancer cells, 3T’s technology is advancing the development of next-generation therapies that have the potential to be safer, more effective, and even curative for difficult-to-treat cancers.
“We saw the need to develop novel technologies that synergize experimentation and computation using data-driven approaches to uncover how the immune system recognizes and responds to cancer. Our machine learning allows us to identify targets that are able to bind and activate T-cell responses with high accuracy. By using evolutionarily adapted immune responses against cancer, we can discover the best immunogenic targets that can be generalized for multiple tumor indications and across patient populations,” said Dr. Scherer.
“3T Biosciences’ technology enables us to address one of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment – developing next-generation therapies for solid tumors and other immune-mediated diseases with curative potential,” said Dr. Harper. “The company is an industry leader in TCR targeting and therapeutics discovery for the treatment of solid tumors, and ultimately, has the expertise to transform the way we view research and development for oncology, autoimmune, and infectious diseases.”
“Today is an exciting turning point in the field of immunotherapy,” said Lightspeed partner and 3T board director Shelley Chu, M.D., Ph.D. “The launch of 3T Biosciences offers hope to patients who are waiting for next-generation oncology therapies. 3T is ahead of the curve, and we are eagerly anticipating what they do next.”
The 3T-TRACE platform expanded coverage and scale are applicable across all tumor types. Beyond cancer, 3T is looking toward opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas, including autoimmune diseases.
Founded in 2017, 3T Biosciences received seed financing from the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), Hayan Health Networks, CRV, Asset Management Ventures, Thiel Capital, OS Fund, and Menlo Ventures.
Veteran Oncology Researcher Stefan Scherer, M.D., Ph.D., Named President and CEO
3T Bioscience’s new CEO, Stefan Scherer, is physician-scientist with more than 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical research and development. Before joining 3T, he was president and CEO of ElyxBio, Inc., worked as global head of experimental medicine at Glaxo SmithKline, served as chief medical officer at Cellectis, an allogenic CAR-T company, and was head of early development, strategy, and innovation for U.S. Oncology at Novartis. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Scherer served in key roles at F. Hoffman-La Roche and Genentech, leading the global biomarker and translational medicine department.
Dr. Harper said, “Stefan is one of the world’s leading industry-based oncology translational researchers. He has an extensive patient-care background, transitioned this into a research career, and has excelled in early and late-stage business development. Under Stefan’s leadership, 3T will deliver on its promise of translating first principles of T-cell receptor recognition of tumor antigens into clinical products.”
“I am honored to join 3T Biosciences as CEO,” said Dr. Scherer. “As a company, 3T is pursuing treating cancer in ways that have never before been possible. We are involved in the entire process, from identifying targets to bringing them into the clinic and delivering them to the patient. Our colleagues have deep expertise spanning preclinical science, computational development, clinical development, and business development. Together, I believe this team is uniquely positioned to transform targets into therapies for patients who are in desperate need of new treatment options.”
Dr. Scherer earned his medical degree magna cum laude from the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg and practiced in oncology and internal medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in physiological chemistry, oncology, and cell biology from The Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg where he graduated summa cum laude. In addition, he completed an Oxford Entrepreneurship in venture finance at Oxford University and holds a post-graduate diploma in bioinformatics from Heidelberg University.
Christopher J. DeRespino, MBA Joins as Chief Business Officer
Also joining 3T is Chris DeRespino as chief business officer (CBO). In this role, Mr. DeRespino is responsible for leading business development and corporate strategy and building out additional corporate infrastructure capabilities over time.
“We are excited to have Chris join our 3T team. His strong leadership experience and proven track record of identifying and executing strategic collaborations as well as an in-depth understanding of oncology therapeutics will be invaluable to help advance our corporate strategy and partnering priorities,” added Dr. Scherer.
Previously, Mr. DeRespino was CBO and acting chief financial officer at Adverum Biotechnologies, and spent nearly eight years at Amgen, most recently as executive director of business development. Before that, he was director, asset acquisition/business development at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which Amgen acquired for $10.4 billion, and at Pfizer, where he was director of business development evaluation and strategy. Earlier in his career, he worked in management consulting. Mr. DeRespino earned his MBA from New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, and a B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
3T Biosciences Announces Board of Directors
3T Biosciences announced its new board of directors, chaired by Westlake’s Sean Harper, M.D. Additional 3T Biosciences board members include Sean Parker, founder and chairman of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI); Shelley Chu, M.D., Ph.D., partner at LightSpeed Venture Partners; David Piacquad, MBA, formerly senior vice president of business development at Amgen; and John Connolly, Ph.D., who previously served as 3T Biosciences’ interim CEO. Beth Seidenberg, M.D., co-founding managing director at Westlake, has joined as a board observer.
K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., 3T Biosciences Co-founder Named Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
3T Biosciences also announced the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board with leaders in molecular biology, oncology, immunology, immuno-oncology, and genetics and chaired by K. Christopher (Chris) Garcia, Ph.D. Dr. Garcia is Younger Family Professor and professor in the departments of molecular and cellular physiology and structural biology at Stanford University School of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, and a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine. Dr. Garcia is a co-founder of 3T Biosciences, Alexo Therapeutics, and Surrozen.
Dr. Garcia joins the following experts in advising 3T’s research and development:
- Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., director, Stanford University Institute for Immunology, Transplantation, and Infection (ITI), professor of microbiology and immunology, and a HHMI investigator
- Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP, J. Terrence Lanni Chair in Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Research, professor of medicine and preventive medicine, co-leader of the translational and clinical sciences program, associate director for clinical research, section head of GI oncology in the division of medical oncology, and co-director of the colorectal center at University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine of USC
- Christina Curtis, Ph.D., MSc, associate professor and endowed scholar in the departments of medicine and genetics, and head of the cancer computational and systems biology group, Stanford University School of Medicine; director of breast cancer translational research and co-director of the Molecular Tumor Board, Stanford Cancer Institute
- Stephen Schoenberger, Ph.D., professor, Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, LaJolla Institute for Immunology
About 3T Biosciences
3T Biosciences is an immunotherapy company focused on discovering and developing next-generation therapies with curative potential based on its immune-response guided target discovery approach. 3T Biosciences’ 3T-TRACE platform technology is designed to overcome the challenges of advancing T-cell receptor (TCR)-based therapeutics. Based in South San Francisco, 3T Biosciences is led by an experienced management team and supported by top investors including Westlake Village BioPartners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. For more information, please visit https://3tbiosciences.com.
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