Financing to accelerate and expand pipeline of oncolytic viral immunotherapies OTTAWA, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Turnstone Biologics Inc., a developer of novel oncolytic viral immunotherapies, today announced the completion of a $41.4 million series B financing led by new investor OrbiMed with participation from new investor F-Prime Capital Partners and existing investors FACIT and Versant Ventures, which led Turnstone's series A financing. This financing takes place less than a year from the series A that allowed the company to progress its lead asset through the initial Phase I/II trial to establish safety, maximum tolerated dose and initial evidence of immunological activity in patients with advanced solid and metastatic tumors. The series B will support completion of the ongoing Phase I/II trial, as well as fund three additional clinical programs that will start this year and next. "We are taking a rapid and expansive approach to clinical development with the goals of exploiting the full potential of our platform and positioning it to most benefit patients," said Turnstone CEO Sammy Farah, Ph.D. "There is reason to be excited about the heavily differentiated nature of our technology and the promising clinical results that have been generated to date." Turnstone's platform targets tumors using a two-pronged mechanism of action, by functioning both as a tumor-destroying oncolytic agent and as an immune-stimulating vaccine directed at specific cancer antigens. The result should be induction of a potent immune response and strong anti-tumor activity. Turnstone's most advanced product is an oncolytic Maraba virus that is engineered to express melanoma-associated antigen A3 (MAGEA3). Completion of the Phase I/II monotherapy trial is expected in 2017. Later this year, Turnstone plans to start a new Phase I/II trial with this product in combination with an approved checkpoint inhibitor in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). "We are thrilled to work with the scientific founders led by Dr. John Bell, and the team at Turnstone, to develop this innovative technology. Because of its unique ability to elicit a potent T cell response and modify the tumor microenvironment, it holds great potential as both a standalone therapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibition, where we look forward to preliminary clinical data next year," said OrbiMed Partner Rishi Gupta, J.D. Two additional programs, each with oncolytic Maraba viruses expressing different tumor antigens for various cancer indications, are expected to enter clinical trials by the end of next year. Turnstone is also advancing pipeline programs in the areas of neoantigen-based personalized cancer vaccines and new oncolytic virus development.