UCLA Startup, ImaginAb, Closes $12.5m Round of Series A Financing

Founded in 2007 by UCLA Faculty (Drs. Robert Reiter, Anna Wu and Christian Behrenbruch), ImaginAb, Inc. is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and novel therapeutic applications.

From PRNewswire:

LOS ANGELES, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — ImaginAb, Inc. a clinical-stage company developing in vivo imaging agents for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) based on antibody fragment technology, today announced the completion of a Series A financing – led by Novartis Venture Funds. The oversubscribed Series A round includes Merieux Developpement, Nextech Invest, Cycad Group and existing seed investor Momentum Biosciences. Novartis Venture Funds and Merieux Developpement will both appoint Directors as representatives of the Series A investors.

“This is an important growth financing event for ImaginAb because it augments financial resources from our rapidly expanding pharma companion diagnostics program and strategic NCI funding, to enable us to accelerate the clinical development of our cancer and immunology imaging programs,” said Christian Behrenbruch, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ImaginAb.

ImaginAb’s technology enables antibodies to be re-engineered into smaller proteins (fragments) with fast kinetics suitable for diagnostic imaging, while maintaining target biospecificity. In this way true companion in vivo diagnostics can be rapidly developed that enable target expression to be profiled in tissues in a non-invasive, whole-body manner. The company has over a dozen development programs with global biopharma companies to develop companion diagnostic imaging agents to therapeutic antibody drugs (in Phase I to BLA), as well as an internal pipeline of proprietary imaging agents for unmet clinical needs – particularly for staging metastatic prostate and pancreatic cancer*.

“ImaginAb’s strategy of harnessing the explosive growth in the antibody space to build an in vivo diagnostics program is best in class and has yielded product pipelines that will have major impact on the clinical management of cancer and autoimmune diseases,” said Campbell Murray, M.D., Managing Director of Novartis Venture Funds. “The company also has the potential to profoundly change the way companion diagnostics are used in drug development and patient selection…”

READ FULL PRESS RELEASE [web]
ImaginAb [web]
Momentum Biosciences [web]
Novartis Venture Funds [web]

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