Founded in April 2014 as a spin-off of the French Blood Bank (Etablissement Français du Sang, EFS), PDC*line Pharma is a Belgian-French biotech company that is developing a novel class of off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies based on a proprietary Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell line (PDC*line) pre-loaded with peptides that are derived from target tumor antigens. Based on a robust preclinical package and a first-in-human phase Ib feasibility study in melanoma, PDC*line Pharma is focusing on lung cancer with a new candidate in phase I/II clinical trial (PDC*lung) and neoantigens (PDC*Neo).
PDC*line Pharma comprises a team of 24 highly skilled professionals based in Liège (Belgium) and Grenoble (France). PDC*line Pharma has raised nearly €31.5M in equity and non-dilutive funding.
In January 2019, PDC*line Pharma has been GMP accredited by the Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) for its Quality Control & Release Activities for PDC*lung, a drug for lung cancer immunotherapy.
In March 2019, PDC*line Pharma granted exclusive license in South Korea and exclusive option in other Asian countriesto LG Chem Life Sciences Company, for the development and commercialization of PDC*lung cancer vaccine for lung cancer. The total deal value is €108M (123M$) plus significant tiered royalties on net sales in Asia.
In May 2019, PDC*line Pharma obtains authorization to launch phase I/II trial of its cancer vaccine (PDC*lung01) in non-small cell lung cancer. The Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines Health Product (FAMHP), together with the designated Ethics Committee, authorized the initiation of an open-label, dose-escalation, phase I/II trial with the cancer vaccine candidate (PDC*lung01) for non-small-cell lung cancer.
In December 2019, PDC*line Pharma raises €20M in Series B financing round. Five new investors joined the round of financing: Korean Investment Partners, the leading multi-billion dollar South-Korean fund, two further South-Korean funds, Shinhan-Cognitive Start-up Fund and UTC 2019 BIOVENTUREFUND, as well as two Belgian funds, SRIW (The Regional Investment Company of Wallonia) and Sambrinvest (the investment fund of Charleroi).
PDC*line offers unique advantages over conventional cancer vaccines:
1. PDC*line is a professional antigen-presenting cell, much more potent than conventional cancer vaccines in priming and expanding antitumor-specific cytotoxic T cells.
2. PDC*vac can easily be produced on a large scale, with a fully mastered and simple manufacturing process (use of bioreactors; no need for growth, differentiation or activation factors; storage for years).
3. PDC*vac is easy to use: the off-the-shelf product in its ready-to use formulation is thawed and injected to treat any patient with a cancer type expressing the target antigens.
4. PDC*vac technology is very versatile: tumor antigens could be provided by simple peptide pulsing (currently used) , mRNA transfection or retrovirus transduction of PDC*line; the target population can be extended beyond HLA-A2 (currently used) by using other HLA already expressed by PDC*line, or added by genetic modification.
5. PDC*vac synergizes with anti-PD-1 to boost antitumor CD8+ T cells.
In addition, the safety of PDC*vac and its ability to prime and boost antitumor T cells in vivo have already been demonstrated in humanized mice and in melanoma patients.
PDC*line Pharma develops innovative and potent therapeutic cancer vaccines which overcome the challenges encountered by earlier cancer-vaccine strategies. The objective of PDC*line Pharma is to demonstrate that its innovative approach can prime and boost CD8+ T cells' antitumor immunity in lung-cancer patients and enhance clinical response to anti-PD-1.