OncoSec draws $13.6M from investors to support immuno-oncology delivery platform

ImmunoPulse intratumoral DNA delivery platform--Courtesy of OncoSec

Cancer immunotherapy specialist OncoSec Medical pulled in $13.6 million in a direct offering, funds the company plans to put toward clinical trials and R&D for its ImmunoPulse platform designed to deliver DNA-based immune-targeting agents.

To the unnamed investors, OncoSec offered just under 2.5 million shares at $5.50 per share.

ImmunoPulse is a platform designed to improve the delivery and uptake of DNA-based therapeutics directly into tumors, according to the company. The DNA is genetically engineered to code for immune-stimulatory proteins and delivered directly into a tumor by a needle, which pulses electronically to increase the cell membranes' permeability and allow the DNA to enter the cells with more ease. The DNA is then free to create the protein within the cells to express antitumor effects.

In early studies, the DNA-based interleukin-12 treatment showed a favorable safety profile, and in Phase II it demonstrated antitumor effects for melanoma. OncoSec is currently testing the platform and DNA treatment in triple negative breast cancer and head and neck cancers.

The immuno-oncology field is growing rapidly. Just this week, Seattle Genetics signed on with Cambridge, MA-based Unum in a $645 million deal. Companies like Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO) and bluebird bio ($BLUE) have been attracting the attention of industry giants, and OncoSec has entered into collaborations of its own with the likes of Merck ($MRK), Heat Biologics, PerkinElmer ($PKI) and Plexxicon. Its platform offers them a way to get a leg up in the growing immuno-oncology arena.

OncoSec CEO Punit Dhillon

"It's a competitive landscape out there in PD-1. Now you see a collaboration between two powerhouses and a willingness to work together to accelerate the development effort," Punit Dhillon, CEO of San Diego's OncoSec Medical, told FierceDrugDelivery last year while the immuno-oncology race was still ramping up with the collaboration of Pfizer ($PFE) and Merck KGaA.

OncoSec is slated to present a corporate overview at the BIO International Convention on June 17 in Philadelphia.

- here's the release