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US drug firm backed by GC LabCell attracts $78m in Series A funding

June 26, 2020 - 16:40 By Kim Young-won

GC LabCell, a manufacturer of cell therapy products, said on Friday that its US strategic partner Artiva Biotherapeutics has raised $78 million in Series A funding round.

Launched in March last year jointly by South Korean drugmaker GC Pharma and GC LabCell, Artiva focuses on research and development of cell therapy drugs and commercialization of GC LabCell’s anti-cancer drugs based on natural killer cells, a type of immune cell in the human body.

Among the investors of the funding round are 5AM Ventures, venBIO Partners and RA Capital Management, all of which are considered leading venture capitals in the US biotechnology segment. GC LabCell said the new investments from the big name investors will help the US firm to gain further growth momentum down the road.

Artiva will spend the newly-raised investment for developing new cell therapy drugs AB101 and next-generation AB200 variants. The company forecast that it might enter clinical trials for AB101 in the third quarter in the US and for the AB200 drugs next year. GC LabCell, the original developer of those drugs, receives royalty from the US affiliate.

“Our goal at Artiva is to do more, leveraging GC LabCell’s foundational work on true off-the-shelf NK cells into a pipeline of product candidates that are accessible to any cancer patient who may benefit,” said Tom Farrell, CEO of Arvita.

Since its launch, the US drug company has attracted seasoned biotechnology experts from global drug companies, including Juno Therapeutics and Fate Therapeutics.

Those talents and the company’s technical ability to develop cell therapy treatments have been recognized in the latest funding scheme, according to GC LabCell.

By Kim Young-won (