Forty Seven, Inc., a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, has announced funding commitments totaling up to $6 million from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to advance the development of a treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
Awarded through LLS's Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), the company will receive up to $3 million to accelerate the development of 5F9 for the treatment of MDS, contingent on the achievement of certain clinical or regulatory milestones. 5F9 is a monoclonal antibody against CD47 that is designed to interfere with recognition of CD47 by the SIRPα receptor on macrophages, locking the "don't eat me" signal used by cancer cells to avoid being ingested by the latter.
The grant from LLS is in addition to $4.2 million in TAP funds previously awarded to Forty Seven for the initial clinical development of 5F9. In July, LLS also purchased common stock valued at $3 million in Forty Seven's follow-on public offering. If all milestones are achieved, the $10.2 million investment from LLS would be the largest it has ever made in support of a biotech company and its asset.
"Despite incredible advancements for patients with other hematological malignancies, the treatment landscape in MDS has remained unchanged for many years, with no new FDA-approved therapies since 2006," said LLS chief scientific officer Lee Greenberger. "We have made a strategic decision to focus on identifying and supporting the development of potentially disease-modifying medicines to beat MDS, with a particular focus on investigational therapies that have shown compelling data and where we believe there may be a clear and efficient path to approval. Forty Seven is an exemplar of the type of company we hope to support, and we are excited to expand our relationship with Forty Seven to advance 5F9's pivotal development."