Biotechnology Company Checkmate Pharmaceuticals Raises $85 Million

By Noah Long ● June 12, 2020
  • Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that is focused on improving patients’ lives with its novel approach to cancer immunotherapy, announced it has raised $85 million in Series C funding

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that is focused on improving patients’ lives with its novel approach to cancer immunotherapy, announced it has raised $85 million in Series C funding. With this round of funding, Checkmate plans to support the continued clinical development of CMP-001 in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma along with pursuing studies in indications like front-line melanoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

The Series C funding round was led by Longitude Capital and Novo Holdings. And they were joined by other new investors, including Medixci, Omega Funds, Clough Capital Partners, Sectoral Asset Management, and BrightEdge (the venture investment fund of the American Cancer Society). Checkmate’s existing investors Sofinnova Investments, venBio Partners, F-Prime Capital, and Decheng Capital also joined the round.

In connection with the funding round, Oren Isacoff, M.D., of Longitude Capital and Nilesh Kumar, Ph.D. of Novo Ventures will join the company’s Board of Directors.

The proceeds from the funding will be used for further advancing clinical development of CMP-001, a differentiated Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist delivered as a biologic virus-like particle utilizing a CpG-A oligonucleotide as a key component. And so far, CMP-001 has been studied in more than 200 patients with melanoma in clinical trials.

In these trials, CMP-001 — in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies — improved the rate, duration, and depth of response when compared with independent data reported from third-party studies with single agent anti-PD-1 therapy. And the additional funding will enable Checkmate to conduct advanced studies in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma as well as to pursue studies in additional indications like front-line melanoma and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in which the company believes the approach may prove to have clinical benefits.

Key Quotes:

“We are excited about the clinical data that we have generated to date, and we believe that CMP-001 has the potential to significantly advance the impact of cancer immunotherapy for the benefit of patients with melanoma and other types of cancer. We greatly appreciate the continued strong support from our existing investors, and we are proud to welcome additional world-class investors to help us fully achieve the promise of the program.”

– Barry Labinger, CEO of Checkmate

“Checkmate is a compelling story of a team driven to find a viable solution for patients in the cancer immunotherapy space. We are proud to support this team and look forward to the advancement of CMP-001.”

– Oren Isacoff, M.D., of Longitude Capital

“We are pleased to join a great investor syndicate in supporting Checkmate. CMP-001 has demonstrated impressive clinical data and we look forward to seeing the program advance in melanoma and additional indications.”

– Nilesh Kumar