Wednesday, May 27, 2015

$15 Million for Calimmune and California Stem Cell HIV Trial

Calimmune, Inc., which has received $8.3 million from the California stem cell agency, today announced it has rustled up another $15 million to help out with the work that the agency is backing.

Calimmune of Tucson, Ariz., was co-founded by a former agency board member and Nobel Prize winner David Baltimore. It is currently engaged in a clinical trial in Los Angeles and San Francisco involving a treatment for HIV.

John Carroll, writing on Fierce Biotech, said,
“Calimmune hasn't had much of a profile outside of the HIV world, but (CEO Louis) Breton is looking to change that. The company has a staff of 40 now, he says, and is looking to expand and possibly strike a partnership deal with a Big Pharma in the space. And unlike some of the leading gene therapy companies in the industry which are targeting tiny populations, Calimmune is tackling a treatment for a disease with a huge, global population of patients. Discussions about million-dollar therapies, he says, won't work for something like HIV. 
"‘Our mission,’ says Breton, ‘is to provide broad capacity; democratize gene therapy for the masses.’"
Calimmune said the latest investors include a “large pharmaceutical company” and Alexandria Venture Investments of Pasadena, Ca. They are in addition to original investors, RA Capital Healthcare Fund LP and Translational Accelerator LLC.

Carroll is right about Calimmune’s low profile. From its earliest days, it has declined to disclose such things as the number of employees. The figure of 40 that was cited by Carroll was the first time it has been disclosed.

(See herehere and here for more information on Calimmune.)

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