1 December 2021

Oncode spin-off Immagene announces seed investment round to progress novel Immuno-Oncology therapeutics

Elize Brolsma

Elize Brolsma

Elize is part of Oncode’s communication team. She has over 10 years of experience in the com-munication industry, both for commercial and non-profit organisations. After obtaining her bache-lor and master degree in communication at Utrecht University, Elize worked as a communication professional at a research institute, PR agency, law firm and internet company. She has a strong focus on external communications and Public Relations. At Oncode - together with her colleagues - Elize produces the monthly newsletters for Oncode Investigators & Researchers and the Oncode digital magazine. She publishes content for the Oncode website and is responsible for all social media channels. She enjoys discussing science with researchers and support them in their outreach.

Immagene B.V., a spin-off of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and Oncode Institute, today announces it has raised a seed financing round to advance its next-generation precision Immuno-Oncology (IO) therapeutics. BOM Brabant Ventures joined as a new investor with additional support from existing investors Swanbridge Capital and Oncode Oncology Bridge Fund.

Immagene further announces the appointment of Jac Wijkmans as Chief Scientific Officer, bringing in his extensive drug development experience. The executive team, consisting of CEO Maarten Ligtenberg and CSO Jac Wijkmans, is being supported by a seasoned Supervisory Board consisting of Martine van Vugt, Nicky Rijk-Vogels (Swanbridge Capital), Shobhit Dhawan (Oncode Oncology Bridge Fund) and Allard Kaptein who will act as chairman of the board.

Immagene was founded in 2020 based on the research in the laboratories of Oncode Investigator professor Daniel Peeper and professor Christian Blank, both at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The company will use the new funding to further develop its proprietary pipeline of targeted immunotherapies for cancer patients utilizing its Immunogram approach. This approach identifies limitations of state-of-the-art cancer immunotherapies, allows for guided target identification, and patient stratification to enhance outcomes.

Dr. Maarten Ligtenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Immagene, said:
“I am excited that this syndicate of investors has come together to support the further development of our IO programs, and I’d like to welcome BOM Ventures as investor. I am especially pleased that industry veteran and experienced R&D executive Jac Wijkmans will be joining our team as CSO to direct our drug development endeavors.”

Jac Wijkmans, PhD, is a Medicinal Chemist with more than 25 years of industrial pharma experience in leading R&D operations and managing complex multidisciplinary innovation projects and processes across national and international organizational levels and divisions. Wijkmans held multiple senior management positions spanning the full spectrum of the industry from academic spin-offs (Oxford Asymmetry, Griffin Discoveries) and mid-size biotech (British Biotech, OSI Pharmaceuticals, uniQure) to Big Pharma (MSD, Schering-Plough, Organon). Under his leadership multiple drug candidates were optimized and selected for pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Dr. Jac Wijkmans, Chief Scientific Officer of Immagene, said:
“It is an honor to become part of Immagene’s executive team and to lead the translation of the scientific innovations into new, more effective, and tailored immunotherapies for cancer patients. This new seed round demonstrates the great confidence our investors have in us to further unlock the considerable potential our platform presents.”

Mercedes Tuin, Investment Manager and Sector Lead Health at BOM: “Immagene’s platform-based target selection has shown the potential to identify novel targets for which it is developing new small molecules for effective immunotherapy in cancer. This approach fits well with our focus and the strength of the local ecosystem in IO and precision medicine. We are excited to work with the team to advance their groundbreaking therapies.”

Shobhit Dhawan

Shobhit Dhawan

Fund Manager

Shobhit is the Fund Manager of Oncode Oncology Bridge Fund. Prior to joining Oncode Bridge Fund, he was an early stage investor at UvA/AMC Ventures for 4 years, where he made investments in tech and life science spin offs from the two institutions. Before UvA ventures, Shobhit supported early stage ventures with fundraising and business strategy at ACE incubator in Amsterdam. He trained as a pharmacologist at the University of Oxford and started his drug discovery career at Pfizer UK. Shobhit holds a PhD in immunology from the University of Amsterdam.


Fund Manager

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