Newton biotech NKT Therapeutics Inc. has closed on $4 million in a new round of funding, according to federal documents. That brings the company’s total institutional backing to $12 million since it was founded in 2008.
While the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not disclose the three investors in the round, the backers of NKT’s $8 million Series A round in March of 2009 included SV Life Sciences (SVLS) and MedImmune Ventures.
NKT is focused on developing therapeutics based on a subset of the immune system T cells called Natural Killer T (NKT) cells. These cells can be used to target cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, asthma and dermatitis, company officials said. The company’s lead program is focused on an antibody that can either activate or deactivate the NKT cells, and its proof-of-concept target condition is asthma.
NKT licensed intellectual property from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital that was developed by the company’s three scientific co-founders: Steven Balk, associate professor, division of oncology, Beth Israel; S. Brian Wilson, assistant professor of medicine, MGH diabetes unit; and Mark Exley, assistant professor of medicine, division of immunology, Dana-Farber.
Partners with NKT include BioWa Inc. of Princeton, N.J., and Selexis SA of Geneva, Switzerland, both of which are helping NKT develop its targeted antibodies.