The Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF), the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) venture philanthropy subsidiary, has announced an investment in Fortis Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego-based biotech developing a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. This is the MIF’s sixth investment since its launch in 2019.
With this investment, the MIF joins Avalon Ventures, Bregua Corporation, Lilly Asia Ventures, Osage University Partners, Vivo Capital, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation in helping to advance Fortis’ antibody drug conjugate (ADC) FOR46 through clinical trials. Early-stage data suggest FOR46 shows effectiveness against the immune modulatory receptor CD46, which is highly expressed in multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, and other tumor types.
The MMRF previously supported early development of FOR46 through an immune translational research grant to Fortis Founder Bin Liu at the University of California, San Francisco. The results of that research, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2016, identified CD46 as a promising target for treatment of multiple myeloma.
Read Fortis’ announcement here.
FOR46 binds a specific conformational epitope of CD46, a novel immune modulatory receptor that is highly expressed in multiple tumor types, is part of the tumor’s immune defense shield, and appears to be specific to tumor cells. FOR46 was identified through an antibody selection process that uses living tumor cells residing in their tissue microenvironment, thereby preserving the natural range of surface antigens present on the cells. To create FOR46, the fully human antibody was conjugated to a potent payload using a proven chemistry platform with well-characterized in vivo properties. Early in vitro studies of FOR46 demonstrated its potential to kill tumor cells with no effect on normal cells. Fortis Therapeutics exclusively licensed rights to the antibody in 2016, and maintains a strong intellectual property position.
About the Myeloma Investment Fund
The Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF), is a venture philanthropy fund that invests in promising companies, clinical assets, and technologies in oncology to accelerate the delivery of precision medicine approaches and a cure to every multiple myeloma patient. The MIF collaborates closely with portfolio companies to help them advance multiple myeloma research, providing access to longstanding relationships with pharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers, a clinical network of 23 sites, and data from the largest genomics data set of any cancer. This evergreen fund is supported entirely by philanthropy; all profits will be reinvested back into research for more effective treatments until there is a cure for every patient. For more information, visit MyelomaInvestmentFund.org.
About Fortis Therapeutics
Fortis Therapeutics is an immuno-oncology biotech developing a novel antibody-drug conjugate for late-stage multiple myeloma and metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Fortis was founded based on technology exclusively licensed from UCSF and developed in the laboratory of Bin Liu, Ph.D. Fortis is located in COI Pharmaceuticals, Avalon’s Community of Innovation, in San Diego. For more information, please visit avalonbioventures.com.