University of Penn spinoff Interius Biotherapeutics recently raised $1.58 million. The second venture was conceived by oncologist and hematologist Dr. Saar Gill—known for research breakthroughs in the field of cell therapy and immunotherapy. He has found a well-connected backer in Leon Moulder, a co-founder of TESARO acquired by GSK for $5.1 billion.
How much did they raise?
$1.58 million via series A stock sale disclosed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Who were the investors?
Private investors including Leon Moulder Jr and Bruce Peacock. It was also reported by John George of the Philadelphia Business Journal that other investors were Tellus Bioventures, Penn Medicine, Agent Capital, and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research.
The secretary is listed as Bruce Peacock—who is he?
A well-connected Philadelphia area entrepreneur and investor associated with SV Health Investors (a VC firm) and also as advisor to Ocular Therapeutix and others. Apparently, he also served as an advisor to one of founder Gil’s other ventures called Carisma.
What is the company’s focus?
Not surprisingly the company’s intellectual property is focused on innovative research centering on an immunotherapy technology platform. Dr. Gill has been involved with some fascinating breakthroughs and more than likely he will be leveraging them in some way to develop CAR-T therapy/immuno-oncology drugs. According to Mr. George with the Philadelphia Business Journal, investor and secretary Bruce Peacock, the immunotherapy platform is confidential until they secure protection.
Mr. Moulder is a big player backing Gill—Who is he?
Tellus Bioventures is a biotechnology investment fund backed by a sophisticated biotech operator in the Philadelphia area named Leon Moulder, Jr.—again a private biotech investor in Interius Biotherapeutics who first and foremost had a major “home run” as he was a co-founder of TESARO Inc, which was sold to GlaxoSmithKline for $5.1 billion in 2018. With fresh proceeds, Mr. Moulder will invest in early-stage innovation and company formation—an area where new startups can really struggle. Mr. Moulder graduated from Temple University and serve on its board of trustees.
Dr. Sar Gill Background
In addition to this latest Penn spinout, Dr. Sar Gill also founded Carisma Therapeutics, another Penn-based IP play raising a total to date of $62.9 million. Known as a rising star in the Penn ecosystem—and beyond—he is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and affiliated with various departments, including Pharmacology and Cell and Molecular Biology.