Press Release

Press Release

Elstar Therapeutics Closes $39M Series A Financing to Support Development of its Universal Targeted Immunotherapy Platform

A new approach to generating antibody-based, multi-functional therapeutics enabling patients to harness their own body to fight cancer

Accomplished leadership team focused on mission to be part of the cure for cancer

Cambridge, MA, January 3, 2018—Elstar Therapeutics, a company fulfilling the promise of precision cancer immunotherapy through a powerful new approach to generating multi-functional therapies, today announced the closing of a $39M Series A financing round by founding investor Apple Tree Partners. The funds will be used to expand its growing pipeline and progress several early stage molecules towards the clinic.

Elstar’s proprietary Universal Targeted Immunotherapy (UniTITM) platform allows rapid generation of multi-functional antibody-based molecules that enable patients to harness their own immune system to fight cancer. UniTITM molecules are unique in their composition of up to four distinct functional domains designed to regulate a broad-range of immunological activities, bringing unmatched targeting of tumor cells to reduce systemic toxicity while delivering excellent manufacturing and drug-like properties.

“Our multi-modal technology enables an enormous step forward from current generation cancer immunotherapy programs,” said Steve Arkinstall, D.Phil., President and Chief Executive Officer of Elstar Therapeutics. “This financing will enable our experienced team to expand and advance our robust pipeline of cancer immunotherapy programs. Elstar’s goal is to rapidly move drug candidates into clinical trials for several serious hematological and solid malignancies.”

“Elstar’s technology platform is designed to overcome barriers that have historically limited the success of promising immunotherapeutic approaches,” said Elstar’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer Andreas Loew, Ph.D. “We are developing a new generation of drugs that can precisely target diseased cells. At the same time, these drugs can engage and regulate cells of both the adaptive and the innate immune system. While these molecules bring many biological advantages, at the core of the technology is the delivery of high yield molecules with drug-like properties that are manufactured using conventional antibody production and purification processes.”

Elstar has assembled an accomplished leadership team to power its mission of being a part of the cure for cancer. The Company was founded by veteran protein engineer Andreas Loew, Ph.D., together with Apple Tree Partners, a life sciences-focused venture capital firm based in New York City. Before founding Elstar, Dr. Loew served as Executive Director of New Technologies / NIBR Biologics at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, where he was responsible for the design and discovery of biotherapeutics including multi-specific antibodies and chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies (CAR-T). Previously, Dr. Loew served in positions of increasing responsibility at Abbott Bioresearch Center.

Steve Arkinstall, D.Phil., Elstar’s President and Chief Executive Officer, has more than 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical drug discovery research. Previously, he served in various roles at EMD Serono including President of the Serono Research Institute and SVP of Global Technologies before serving as Chief Scientific Officer of Kymab.

John Herrmann, Ph.D., serves as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP, Oncology. Dr. Herrmann is a portfolio strategist who previously was CSO of Oncology External Innovation at Eli Lilly & Co., before serving as SVP of Oncology at Catenion GmbH.

Peter Williams brings over twenty years of business development, deal negotiation and technology in-and out-licensing experience to Elstar as its Chief Business Officer. He has considerable expertise in technology and product partnering, particularly in the oncology landscape, having previously served as Senior Director, Business Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Senior Director, Business Development at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and most recently as Vice President of Business Development at ImmunoGen, Inc.

“Elstar’s powerful UniTITM platform redefines how we think about multi-functional therapeutics and, together with a proven leadership team, positions the company to make a major impact on patients’ lives. Elstar’s initial focus on oncology has already generated candidates with great promise for various indications, but there are many other diseases where this technology could really transform the standard of care.“ said Aaron Kantoff, Principal at Apple Tree Partners and member of the Elstar Board of Directors.

About Elstar Therapeutics, Inc.

Elstar Therapeutics is fulfilling the promise of precision cancer immunotherapy through a powerful new approach to generating antibody-based, multi-functional therapeutics.

Armed with a unique approach to engaging multiple immune mechanisms, Elstar enables patients to harness their own body to fight cancer.

Elstar’s Universal Targeted Immunotherapy (UniTI™) platform is positioned to overcome barriers that are limiting the full potential of other promising immunotherapeutic approaches.

“Our motivation…to be part of the cure for cancer.”

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About UniTITM

UniTITM (Universal Targeted Immunotherapy) is Elstar’s fully in-house drug discovery platform, which builds upon well-understood and validated monoclonal antibody technologies to rapidly create multi-functional biologics with attractive IgG-like manufacturing and drug-like pharmacokinetic properties. UniTITM molecules can employ dual-targeting of independent cell surface tumor antigens while simultaneously engaging multiple innate and adaptive immunological mechanisms to attack the cancer cells. UniTITM multi-functional antibody therapeutics employ standard industry manufacturing processes to deliver high yields with simple purification and formulation. Elstar’s modular approach to assembling biologics with up to four functional domains brings true mix-and-match simplicity to the engineering of complex molecules. With UniTITM, the complexity is in the final molecule, not in their design, development, or production.

About Apple Tree Partners

Apple Tree Partners (ATP) is a New York-based venture capital firm dedicated to building transformative life sciences businesses. The firm is actively investing its fourth fund, with $1.5 billion in capital commitments. ATP considers therapeutics and medical device investments at all stages, from discovery research through to commercialization and takes a long-term view to create sustainable value. For more information visit


Media Contact:

Karen Sharma or Maghan Meyers

MacDougall Biomedical Communications

(781) 235-3060

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