Advancing Novel Natural Killer (NK) Cell-based Immunotherapies

ImmuneBridge Raises $12M from M Ventures and Insight Partners


Biotech company taps into human diversity for next-generation NK cell therapies.

ImmuneBridge, a biotechnology company using nature’s innate intelligence to fight cancer, today announced the close of an oversubscribed $12 million seed financing co-led by global investors Insight Partners and M Ventures, the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. One Way Ventures and Gaingels also participated. Cheryl Zimberlin, Investment Director at M Ventures, and Dylan Morris, Managing Director at Insight Partners have joined ImmuneBridge’s Board of Directors.

ImmuneBridge is developing allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapies for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. NK cells represent a promising platform for allogeneic immunotherapy because they are potent cancer killers with a minimal risk profile. Current approaches to NK therapeutic development have yet to identify optimal product attributes with regard to source, phenotype, and engineering that yield the most effective and durable therapies.

ImmuneBridge’s orthogonal approach uses a proprietary expansion technology and a diverse clinic-ready source to enable accelerated discovery and translation of the most potent cell therapies. ImmuneBridge’s expansion technology expands hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are natural precursors of NK cells. HSCs are readily available via umbilical cord blood from public cord blood banks across the United States and globally. This approach allows for the systematic screening of cord blood to identify the most potent cells per indication, which then can be genetically engineered to enhance their potency on top of their innate baseline.

After surveying the broader landscape, we believe ImmuneBridge is uniquely positioned to build the next generation of off-the-shelf NK cell therapies. They have a distinct and promising approach to overcome challenges faced by existing therapies

Cheryl Zimberlin, Investment Director at M Ventures

“Cell therapy is a new pillar of medicine and is inextricably human. Cell therapy developers fear donor-to-donor variability, yet we humans are unapologetically diverse in our innate immune systems. It is natural to identify the most potent therapies from among human diversity—and we can employ genetic engineering to enhance them,” said Peretz Partensky, co-founder and CEO of ImmuneBridge. “We dare to not fear our immunological diversity but to embrace it.”

This investment will be used to build a screening dataset for indication-optimized NK cells, to demonstrate scalable manufacturability, and to generate pre-clinical data for a lead product.

“By taking advantage of the genotypic diversity of the human immune system, ImmuneBridge has the potential to dramatically improve the way we approach off-the-shelf immunotherapies,” said Dylan Morris, Managing Director at Insight Partners.

Earlier this year, ImmuneBridge engaged key advisors, including Catherine Blish, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Aharon Freud, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Ohio State University as part of ImmuneBridge’s Scientific Advisory Board.