Investors including Google Ventures poured $93 million into a company that's building personalized cancer vaccines
Lydia Ramsey/Business Insider
A biotech company that's developing personalized cancer treatments just raised $93 million to get their drugs into human trials.Gritstone Oncology is working on a type of cancer immunotherapy called cancer vaccines that seeks to help amplify the body's immune system to fight off cancer cells. The series B round was led by Lilly Asia Ventures and joined by GV, formerly Google Ventures, Trinitas Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.
This is first time GV's invested in a cancer vaccine, Dr. Anthony Philippakis, a partner at GV, told Business Insider. In the past, GV has invested in a number of life sciences startups, including 23andMe, Flatiron Health, and Foundation Medicine. Allen said having GV on board is helpful, because of GV's experience with deep learning, something Gritstone's using to make the tailored vaccines.There's a lot of excitement about personalized genetics right now. In August, the FDA approved the first cell therapy for cancer, a treatment called Kymriah. The drug is personalized in a different way, by taking cells from a person, and reprogramming them to go after tumor cells in the body. But the end-goal of these more tailored approaches is the same: make the body better at fighting off cancer cells.
"This is the best shot we have of actually curing people," Allen said.
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