ArsenalBio Raises $220M As Cell Therapy’s Popularity Grows

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ArsenalBio Raises 0M As Cell Therapy’s Popularity Grows





As innovations in cell therapy continue to grow, San Francisco-based ArsenalBio this week announced it raised a whopping $220 million in Series B funding, one of the largest rounds this year for a cell therapy venture.

The company’s Series B marks the second-largest funding among cell therapy startups in 2022, per Crunchbase data. ArsenalBio has raised $305 million since its start in 2019, according to Crunchbase.

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Cell therapy transplants healthy, engineered human cells into a patient whose body is too weak to fight disease. As a result, cell therapy has become increasingly promising to scientists as a way to treat a wide variety of diseases.

ArsenalBio is looking to create an army of therapeutics to tackle a wide range of cancers. Its first drug candidate, targeted at ovarian cancer, is pursuing clearance by the Food and Drug Administration later this year, and upon receiving clearance will begin dosing patients.

The recent round was bolstered by a handful of investors such as legacy pharmaceutical company Bristol Meyers Squibb, along with biotech-focused Westlake Village BioPartners and SoftBank Vision Fund.

The battleground to dominate cell therapy

Overall, cell therapy-related startups raised around $2.7 million in venture funding last year, according to Crunchbase data. A large portion of those funds are being raised by pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca, which are waiting to scoop up the assets as soon as they become promising enough.

Santa Monica, California-based Kite Pharma, now a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, was a leader in the world of T-cell therapy from its start in 2009. Since then, several pharmaceutical companies big and small have joined the race to create cell therapies that can be used to treat cancers and chronic diseases, boost a weakened immune system, and reverse injuries to the spine.

Cell therapies are often considered less invasive than some of the better-known treatments for cancer, such as radiation therapy, and may be more efficient to treating chronic diseases than sweeping lifestyle changes. But they still have a long way to go before they become the standard treatment for patients.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


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