The Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF), the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) venture philanthropy subsidiary, today announced investments in Luminary Therapeutics, a company using advanced receptor design to improve the depth and durability of patient responses to cell therapy; KAHR, a clinical stage company developing immune-recruiting therapies to address immune escape by tumors; and Telo Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing second generation inhibitors of nuclear transport against a clinically validated target for multiple myeloma.
These investments mark a significant expansion of the MIF portfolio, bringing the total number of active portfolio companies to nine and the total number of MIF investments to eleven. With these additions, the MIF continues to diversify its range of investments, consistent with its strategic approach to venture philanthropy to accelerate the most promising therapeutic advances for patients with multiple myeloma.
“We are extremely proud to partner with Luminary Therapeutics, KAHR, and Telo Therapeutics, three innovative companies furthering the development of new therapies that have the potential to improve the lives of multiple myeloma patients,” said Peter Kosa, Ph.D., Managing Director of the Myeloma Investment Fund. “By investing in three companies dedicated to developing novel therapies across a variety of innovative new targets and technologies, the MIF remains committed to advancing new treatment options to address unmet needs for multiple myeloma patients.”
The MIF’s investment in Luminary Therapeutics supports the development of Luminary’s BAFF-CAR-T, a first-of-its-kind CAR-T cell therapy that targets three distinct antigens present on multiple myeloma tumors. The MIF’s investment in KAHR supports continued development of DSP107, a dual-targeting fusion protein that activates innate and adaptive immunity by blocking CD47 on cancer cells and utilizing 4-1BB conditional co-stimulatory activation of T-cells. The MIF’s investment in Telo helps advance the company’s next generation nuclear transport inhibitors toward the clinic.
“The three investments in Luminary Therapeutics, KAHR, and Telo Therapeutics are consistent with our mission of accelerating potential life-extending therapies for multiple myeloma patients,” said Michael Andreini, President and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “By funding and partnering with innovative companies, we are continuing to advocate for novel technology platforms to be evaluated in the myeloma space where there is still great unmet need.”
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
A pioneer in personalized medicine, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) seeks to find a cure for all multiple myeloma patients by relentlessly pursuing innovations that accelerate the development of personalized treatments for cancer. Founded in 1998 by Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, and her twin sister Karen Andrews as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the MMRF has created the benchmark business model around cancer—from data to analytics to the clinic. The MMRF identifies barriers and then finds the solutions to overcome them, bringing in the best partners and aligning incentives in the industry to drive better outcomes for patients. Since its inception, the organization has collected thousands of samples and tissues, opened nearly 100 trials, helped bring more than 15 FDA-approved therapies to market, and built CoMMpass, the single largest genomic dataset in myeloma. Today, the MMRF is building on its legacy in genomics and is expanding into immunotherapy, as the combination of these two fields will be critical to making personalized medicine possible for all patients. The MMRF has raised more than $500 million and directs nearly 90% of the total funds to research and related programs. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org.
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 drive the development of new therapies for multiple myeloma. The MIF collaborates closely with portfolio companies to help them advance multiple myeloma research. This evergreen fund is supported entirely by philanthropy; all profits are reinvested back into research for more effective treatments until there is a cure for every patient. For more information, visit MyelomaInvestmentFund.org.
KAHR develops novel dual-targeting fusion protein therapeutics engineered to activate both the innate and the adaptive immune systems simultaneously and localize that response in the tumor microenvironment. KAHR’s lead product candidate, DSP107, is a CD47x41BB targeting compound. DSP107 is being tested in a Phase I/II clinical trial in advanced solid tumors and a Phase Ib clinical trial in blood cancers. KAHR’s preclinical pipeline includes DSP502, a PVRxPD-L1 targeting fusion protein, and DSP216, an HLA-GxCD47 targeting fusion protein. For more information, please visit https://kahrbio.com.
About Luminary Therapeutics
Luminary is a clinical stage allogeneic cell therapy company focused on combining advanced receptor design with superior cell engineering to overcome antigen escape and T cell dysfunction. Luminary was founded by the team from B-MoGen that achieved a successful 5X exit in only three years. Luminary is seeking Series A financing with venture firms or strategic partners to support its first clinical trial and development of its disruptive Universal Receptor that can modulate antigen specificity. For more information visit www.luminarytx.com.
About Telo Therapeutics
Telo Therapeutics is developing orally bioavailable next generation inhibitors of nuclear transport, a critical nexus among many cancer cell signaling pathways. The company’s unique chemistry and distinct mechanism of action result in a favorable safety profile and lead to rapid tumor regressions across multiple cancer types including multiple myeloma, brain, liver, lung, bladder, and prostate. Telo has generated durable complete responses with just two weeks of dosing in xenografts of both multiple myeloma and glioblastoma. Telo is uniquely positioned to unlock the full potential of targeting nuclear transport in multiple myeloma tumors and beyond. Telo is actively raising a Series A financing to advance its small molecule to Investigational New Drug (IND) and run a Phase 1 proof-of-concept trial. Telo is targeting first patient dosing in 2H of 2024.