Immutep Limited has recently announced the news of a partnership with the investment firm known as Altium Capital. This occurred in Sydney, Australia on Dec 19, 2018 and has created much excitement for Immutep.
The investment from Altium is estimated to be a worth of $5.2 million. This is equivalent to $7.2 million in Australian currency. Originally created as a mining company in 1987, Immutep Limited is now a biotechnology company that specializes in the developing of novel immunotherapy treatments for cancer and autoimmune disease. This happened after the company was repositioned as a biotechnology company in 2001 following the acquisition of the rights to develop technologies from the Austin Research Institute.
They currently have operations in Europe, Australia, and the U.S. This development includes therapeutics that modulate Lymphocyte Activation Gene-3 (“LAG-3”), which is a cell surface molecule that plays a vital role in regulating T cells. This was discovered by Immutep’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frederic Triebel.
The goal of this extensive research and developing is to strengthen the power of patients’ immune systems through therapeutic intervention for the benefit of patients’ health. With the pharmaceutical partnerships of Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, Immutep already has one pre-clinical and three clinical LAG-3 product candidates under development, including two antibodies for modulating immune responses in autoimmunity and cancer.
One of these LAG-3 products is known as eftilagimod alpha, which happens to be their leading product. It is soluble LAG-3Ig fusion protein based on the LAG-3 immune control mechanism which plays a vital role in the regulation of the T cell immune response and is currently being tested as a chemo immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer termed AIPAC.
“We are pleased to have Altium Capital lead this financing. Altium joins a growing number of specialist healthcare funds we have welcomed as investors in Immutep over the past year, as they recognize Immutep is leading the excitement around LAG-3. This financing, raised in a difficult market environment, has extended Immutep’s cash runway beyond the estimated AIPAC data readout in H2 2019, as well as potential meaningful data points from our ongoing and planned TACTI clinical studies, “ said Immutep’s CEO, Marc Voigt, after the newly formed partnership was announced.
As Voigt has stated, it is important to note that Altium’s investment will enable Immutep to continue the research and development of cancer fighting drugs such as the LAG-3 products. This has given Immutep some financial breathing room that is expected to last until mid-2020, at which point they are expected to report meaningful clinical data.
Founded just earlier this year by CEO Jacob Gottlieb, Altium Capital has already made similar headlines with its investment opportunities. The company made a big step forward by investing in Oramed Pharmaceuticals with a 5.61% stake.
Gottlieb made the move in July among several other healthcare-focused institutional investors. After being founded in 2006, Oramed Pharmaceuticals has already changed the way medical treatments can be administered. Specifically through the form of pills instead of needle injections. Oramed’s most popular product is just that. An insulin capsule that can be taken orally in place of injection. This has changed the lives for many who suffer from diabetes.
Altium may be a new company but Gottlieb already has many years of experience in this line of work. This experience comes from his last investment firm known as Visium, where he was the Founder and Chief Investment Officer.
During his time at Visium, Gottlieb grew the company to an impressive $8 billion hedge fund. Of the near 200 employees, Visium had a span of offices located in San Francisco, New York, and across the Atlantic in London.
While many companies of the like operated under a harsh “sink or swim” environment for their portfolio managers, Visium managed itself in a different way under the principles put in place by Gottlieb. A more hands-on approach of bringing on young talent and then nurturing them and supporting them to success was crucial in establishing a good work environment and thus the monumental success of Visium.
Now CEO of Altium, Jacob Gottlieb, speaks on the importance of work that Immutep is conducting. “The potential therapeutic relevance of LAG-3 is becoming increasing appreciated within both the biopharma industry and the investment community.
Immutep has already established itself as a clear leader in the understanding of the LAG-3 immune control mechanism, having built partnerships with five of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and operating under the research direction of Dr. Frederic Triebel.”
It is safe to say that each company stands a strong chance to benefit from the deal. Both companies appear to be excited about the future. Immutep can now focus on their work in cancer fighting drugs while the partnership lines up with Altium’s fundamental long-term investment strategy.