OneVentures Backs Cancer Biotech ImmVirX in $25 Million Series B

Sydney VC OneVentures has committed $15 million as a cornerstone investment for a $25 million Series B raise for life sciences startup ImmVirX.

The biotech startup is developing cancer treatments using oncolytic viral immunotherapies (viruses that infect and destroy cancer cells without damaging normal cells).

The remaining $10 million in the series was offered to existing shareholders and others, with several existing backers, including Acorn Capital, agreeing to be part of the round, which will give the company a runway for its preclinical and clinical trials, as well as for manufacturing and business and business development activities, until 2026.

ImmVirX previously raised $22 million in a round led by Acorn in May 2021. The final round will value the biotech startup at $75 million.

Jeannie Joughin, director of OneVentures and biopharmaceutical expert, will join the board of ImmVirX as part of the deal. She is chairman of OneVentures portfolio company BiVACOR and a director of CCRM Australia.

ImmVirX’s novel cancer immunotherapy combinations have the potential to not only kill cancer cells, but also induce systemic anti-tumor immune responses to treat cancers of high unmet need, including colorectal, gastric, ovarian and liver cancers. The latest oncolytic virus targets late-stage lung cancer.

Dr. Joughin said she is very excited about the potential for the Newcastle business, co-founded by the team behind melanoma treatment Viralytics, acquired five years ago by NSYE-listed biopharmaceutical leader Merck/MSD in June 2018 for $502 million.

“ImmVirX is a strategic investment for Fund III, offering a novel oncolytic immunotherapy that has the potential to improve treatment response alone or in combination with other treatments and further diversify OneVentures’ Healthcare portfolio,” she said.

“We also see this as a great opportunity to partner with ImmVirX to expand the product pipeline and treat more underserved cancers with tremendous market potential.”

In April, ImmVirX announced it had dosed its first patient in its two-part Phase 1 clinical trial of its bioselected oncolytic virus, IVX037. The phase 1a portion of the study will assess the virus in patients with late stage colorectal, gastric or ovarian cancer.

Co-founder and CEO Dr. Malcolm McColl said OneVentures’ investment would enable “the unfettered clinical development of our existing and planned programs” for treatments.

“Against the backdrop of what has been a difficult capital market for biotechnology companies, this is a testament to our team’s work to date, and an important vote of confidence for OneVentures to lead this round of funding,” he said.

“We are delighted to welcome OneVentures to the register and appreciate the strong continued support from our existing shareholders. The new funds will enable us to accelerate the development of our innovative oncolytic viral immunotherapies and move us closer to our goal of changing outcomes for patients with some of the most common cancers.”