Jasper Therapeutics Launches with $35 Million Series A Financing to Develop and Commercialize Innovative Conditioning Agents and Therapies to…

By daniellenierenberg

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jasper Therapeutics, Inc., a new biotechnology company focused on enabling safer conditioning and therapeutic agents that expand the application of curative hematopoietic stem cell transplants and gene therapies, today announced the launch of the company with a $35 million total Series A financing. Abingworth LLP and Qiming Venture Partners USA served as lead investors, with further investment from Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company) and participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, LLC. The proceeds will be used to advance the clinical development of the companys lead product candidate, JSP191, which is designed to replace or reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation therapy as a conditioning regimen to prepare patients for hematopoietic cell transplant.

Jaspers development of JSP191 is also supported by a collaboration with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which has been funding the program and is committed to providing a total of $23 million in grant support. As part of the Series A financing, Amgen, which discovered JSP191 (formerly AMG191), has licensed worldwide rights to Jasper that also include translational science and materials from Stanford University.

Jasper was co-founded by Judith Shizuru, M.D., Ph.D., a hematopoietic stem cell transplant expert at Stanford University, and Susan Prohaska, Ph.D., a Stanford University-trained immunologist, stem cell biologist and early-stage drug development professional. Dr Shizurus CIRM-funded lab advanced the understanding of the ability of anti-CD117 to impact hematopoietic stem cells and, together with the Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital Stanford and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) pediatric transplant teams, was the first to study an anti-CD117 antibody in the clinic as a conditioning agent. That humanized antibody, now called JSP191, was first studied for conditioning for transplant in immune-deficient patients in collaboration with Amgen, UCSF and CIRM.

Stem cell transplantation is a potential curative therapy for people with hematologic cancers, autoimmune diseases, and debilitating genetic diseases. However, the pre-transplant conditioning required to prepare patients for transplant involves highly toxic chemotherapy, which can be life-threatening and limits the number of people who are able to benefit, said Dr. Shizuru, co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Jasper Therapeutics. JSP191 is the only anti-CD117 antibody to demonstrate safety and efficacy in severely ill patients receiving stem cell transplant in the clinic. We plan to expand clinical development to patients receiving transplants for acute myeloid leukemia/ myelodysplastic syndrome or autoimmune diseases and to patients receiving stem cell-directed gene therapies.

Dr. Shizuru added, With an experienced executive team of biotech veterans and a strong syndicate of healthcare-focused investors, Jasper Therapeutics is well positioned to achieve our vision of building a leading biotech company starting with JSP191 and expanding to other novel therapies for immune modulation, graft engineering and cell and gene therapies.

JSP191 is currently being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial as a conditioning agent to enable stem cell transplantation in patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) who received a prior stem cell transplant that failed. This severe genetic immune disorder leaves patients without a functioning immune system. Interim results of the study will be presented in an oral presentation (abstract #800) on Monday, December 9, at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition in Orlando, Fla. Clinical studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of JSP191 as a conditioning agent in patients undergoing hematopoietic cell therapy for hematologic cancers are planned for 2020.

Founding Management Team

Dr. Shizuru and Mr. Lis are joined on the Jasper Therapeutics Board of Directors by Kurt von Emster, Managing Partner of Abingworth LLP, and Anna French, Ph.D., Principal at Qiming Venture Partners USA. Dr. Prohaska is a Board observer.

With our investment in this program, were able to realize our mission of fast-tracking stem cell treatments by helping academic researchers rapidly advance the most promising discoveries in the lab into the clinics and to drug development with commercialization partners, said Maria T. Millan, M.D., President and CEO of CIRM. Jaspers two co-founders took a novel antibody with unique properties and moved it from the bench to the bedside relatively quickly, and were thrilled to partner with this talented team to potentially impact a broad group of people who could benefit from stem cell therapy.

About Stem Cell Transplantation

Blood-forming, or hematopoietic, stem cells are cells that reside in the bone marrow and are responsible for the generation and maintenance of all blood and immune cells. These stem cells can harbor inherited or acquired abnormalities that lead to a variety of disease states, including immune deficiencies, blood disorders or hematologic cancers. Successful transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells is the only cure for most of these life-threatening conditions. Replacement of the defective or malignant hematopoietic stem cells in the patients bone marrow is currently achieved by subjecting patients to toxic doses of radiation and/or chemotherapy that cause DNA damage and lead to short- and long-term toxicities, including immune suppression and prolonged hospitalization. As a result, many patients who could benefit from a stem cell transplant are not eligible. New approaches that are effective but have minimal to no toxicity are urgently needed so more patients who could benefit from a curative stem cell transplant could receive the procedure.

Safer and more effective hematopoietic cell transplantation regimens could overcome these limitations and enable the broader application of hematopoietic cell transplants in the cure of many disorders. These disorders include hematologic cancers (e.g., myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS] and acute myeloid leukemia [AML]), autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes), and genetic diseases that could be cured with genetically-corrected autologous stem cells (e.g., severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome [SCID], sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, Fanconi anemia and other monogenic diseases).

About JSP191

JSP191 (formerly AMG191) is a first-in-class humanized monoclonal antibody in clinical development as a conditioning agent that clears hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow. JSP191 binds to human CD117, a receptor for stem cell factor (SCF) that is expressed on the surface of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. The interaction of SCF and CD117 is required for stem cells to survive. JSP191 blocks SCF from binding to CD117 and disrupts critical survival signals, causing the stem cells to undergo cell death and creating an empty space in the bone marrow for donor or gene-corrected transplanted cells to engraft.

Preclinical studies have shown that JSP191 as a single agent safely depletes normal and diseased hematopoietic stem cells, including in an animal model of MDS. This creates the space needed for transplanted normal donor or gene-corrected hematopoietic stem cells to successfully engraft in the host bone marrow. To date, JSP191 has been evaluated in more than 80 healthy volunteers and patients. It is currently being evaluated as a sole conditioning agent in a Phase 1 dose-escalation trial to achieve donor stem cell engraftment in patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplant for SCID, which is curable only by this type of treatment. For more information about the design of the clinical trial, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02963064). Clinical development of JSP191 will be expanded to also study patients with AML or MDS who are receiving hematopoietic cell transplant.

About Jasper Therapeutics

Jasper Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on enabling safer conditioning and therapeutic agents that expand the application of curative hematopoietic stem cell transplants and gene therapies. Jasper Therapeutics lead compound, JSP191, is in clinical development as a conditioning antibody that clears hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow in patients undergoing a stem cell transplant. For more information, please visit us at http://www.jaspertherapeutics.com.

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Jasper Therapeutics Launches with $35 Million Series A Financing to Develop and Commercialize Innovative Conditioning Agents and Therapies to...

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