Menlo Park, California-based Adicet Bio, Inc. said it raised a $51 million Series A funding round led by OrbiMed, with the participation of Novartis Venture Fund and Pontifax. Adicet also said it acquired Haifa, Israel-based Applied Immune Technologies, Ltd. (AIT).

“These significant financial resources will allow Adicet to progress its universal immune cell therapy (uICT) platform technology and related products and advance AIT’s programs and product pipeline,” said Dr. Aya Jakobovits, founder, president and CEO of Adicet. “AIT’s technologies, capabilities, and intellectual property highly complement those of Adicet and position the combined company to become a leader in next-generation immunotherapy products for cancer and other indications.”

Adicet was founded by Dr. Kakobovits and OrbiMed. Previously, Dr. Jakobovits served as the president and founding CEO of Kite Pharma, Inc. Before joining Kite Pharma, she served in various senior management positions at Agensys, which became an affiliate of Astellas Pharma in a $537 million deal. Prior to Agensys, Dr. Jakobovits worked at Abgenix, which was spun out of Cell Genesys, based on the XenoMouse technology developed under her leadership. Abgenix was acquired by Amgen for $2.2 billion.

AIT specializes in generating and developing T-Cell Receptor-Like (TCRL) antibodies with high affinity and specificity to disease-specific intracellular peptides presented on the cell surface by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). AIT also established Epitarget™, a proprietary technology to identify and validate novel disease-specific peptide targets. AIT technology is based on work by Prof. Yoram Reiter, a world leader in the research of immunotherapies directed to the intracellular proteome. AIT will continue its operations in Israel as Adicet’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

Following the financing and acquisition, the Adicet board will include Jonathan Silverstein and Carl Gordon, general partners and co-heads of global private equity at OrbiMed, Aya Jakobovits, Florent Gros, managing director at Novartis Venture Fund, and Erez Chimovits, managing director at OrbiMed Israel.

“We are excited to join forces again with Aya, a prominent figure in the field of immunotherapy with a track record of growing successful biotechnology companies,” said Carl Gordon.

“We look forward to building a leading immunotherapy company,” said Jonathan Silverstein. “The AIT acquisition expands Adicet’s platform technologies and its product pipeline.”

Applied Immune Technologies Ltd. pioneered and advanced the generation and development of TCRLs for therapeutic and diagnostic applications in cancer, inflammation, autoimmune, and infectious diseases. AIT’s TCRLs are directed to disease-specific peptide-MHC complexes and are aimed at delivering potent payloads specifically to the diseased cells. AIT’s pipeline includes TCRLs directed to different disease indications. AIT also established a robust and proprietary technology for identification and validation of novel MHC-based targets. AIT was founded in 2006 by Prof. Yoram Reiter, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and Mira Peled-Kamar, Ph.D., AIT CEO. AIT is located in Haifa, Israel.

Adicet Bio, Inc. is a privately held, pre-clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the design and development of cutting-edge immunotherapies for cancer and other disease indications, with a focus on novel universal immune cell therapies (uICT). Adicet Bio is located in Menlo Park, California.

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