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) and 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 and June 2019, PDC*line Pharma obtains authorization to launch phase I/II trial of its cancer vaccine (PDC*lung01) in non-small-cell lung cancer from the Belgium and French Authorities respectively. Regulatory Authorities authorized the initiation of an open-label, dose-escalation, phase I/II trial with the cancer vaccine candidate 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).
In February 2020, the first patient with non-small cell lung cancer has been dosed with PDC*lung01.
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.