Asian Fund for Cancer Research
Bradley Gillenwater, Senior Director for Corporate Engagement
Vlad Hogenhuis, M.D., CEO
Little Dog Communications
Jessica Yingling, Ph.D., President
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Asian Fund for Cancer Research Announces Chimera Bioengineering as the
2021 BRACE Award Venture Competition Winner
HONG KONG – Chimera Bioengineering has been selected as the winner of the Asian Fund for Cancer Research’s (AFCR) 2021 BRACE Award Venture Competition—a first-of-its-kind program for early stage oncology technology companies focused on Asian-prevalent cancers. Chimera is developing an innovative CAR-T cell therapy platform for conditional, location-specific activation to target solid tumors.
As a result of its win, Chimera received US$500,000 in investment from AFCR and additional investments from AFCR-syndicated co-investors, bringing in a total of US$7.5 million of new funds for the company. This follows a rigorous review and evaluation process performed by the BRACE program’s three blue ribbon Committees: Selection, Judging and Investment.
BRACE Award Venture Competition winners not only receive AFCR’s investments, but also feedback and validation from key opinion leaders in the life sciences field. Additionally, the BRACE program provides participating companies with connections and access to cancer experts within AFCR’s worldwide network, as well as amplification for visibility and publicity.
“We are excited to be named the winner of the 2021 BRACE Award Venture Competition and are thrilled by the support we have received from new investors and the connections we have made to high-caliber advisors,” stated Chimera Bioengineering Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder Gus Zeiner, Ph.D. “We greatly value the enhanced credibility and exposure from winning the 2021 BRACE Award Venture Competition and look forward to having AFCR being a part of our journey to provide transformative therapies for cancer patients in Asia and beyond.”
“During the evaluation for AFCR’s BRACE Award, I was impressed with Chimera’s insightful approach of leveraging natural mechanisms to engineer T cells,” said BRACE Award Venture Competition Selection and Judging Committee Co-Chair Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D. “The company is developing a way to engineer these critical immune system cells to selectively activate when they encounter tumor cells and deliver a payload to counteract the suppressive tumor microenvironment.”
“Furthermore, Chimera’s initial data in preclinical models provide support for the ability of their platform technology to apply the curative potential of CAR-T therapies to treating solid tumors,” added Dr. Kucherlapati, the Paul C. Cabot Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of multiple successful biotechnology companies, including Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
“I am proud that interest in the BRACE Award Venture Competition has spread around the world, and it is being recognized as a valuable source of investment for early-stage oncology companies,” expressed Asian Fund for Cancer Research Chief Executive Officer and Founder Sujuan Ba, Ph.D. “Like the potentially transformative CAR-T technology being pursued by Chimera, AFCR’s BRACE Award Venture Competition is designed to accelerate the commercialization of innovative cancer research discoveries for cancer patients, in Asia and worldwide.”
“The BRACE Award Venture Competition is an annual event to support promising early-stage oncology start-ups that work on cancers prevalent in Asia,” exclaimed Asian Fund for Cancer Research Chairman Lance Kawaguchi. “In addition to the investment into winners such as Chimera Bioengineering, AFCR brings to the company other valuable resources, such as access to the National Foundation for Cancer Research and AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, which are founding partners of the BRACE Award Venture Competition.”
Learn more about the BRACE Award Venture Competition, including the 2022 iteration of the program, now in its fourth year, at https://afcr.org/en/brace-award/.
About the BRACE Award Venture Competition
The annual Bridging Research from Academia to Cancer Entrepreneurship (BRACE) program, launched in 2019, is designed to accelerate the commercialization of innovative laboratory discoveries on cancers that are prevalent in Asia. BRACE Award Venture Competitions provide start-up companies with investment capital, visibility and access to a network of world-class key opinion leaders, life sciences industry experts, investors and entrepreneurs.
About the Asian Fund for Cancer Research
The Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) is a non-profit organization committed to curing cancers that have significant impacts on Asian populations. Headquartered in Hong Kong and connecting to the world, AFCR is uniquely positioned to investigate the distinct causes of cancer in Asian populations through innovative genetic and molecular research, accelerate the newest cancer research discoveries and technologies, and develop more effective therapies for cancer patients in Asia and around the world. For more information, visit https://afcr.org.
About Chimera Bioengineering
At Chimera Bioengineering, our mission is to improve the efficacy and safety of engineered cell therapies with the goal of realizing the promise this new therapeutic class offers for a cure for cancer patients. We believe Chimera’s GOLD Platform can achieve more control, less toxicity, and greater efficacy for next generation engineered cell therapies. Chimera Bioengineering is a privately held biotechnology company located in Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS in South San Francisco, California. Find out more at https://chimera.bio/.