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In Brief This Week: Epitopoietic Research Corporation, SEngine Precision Medicine

NEW YORK – The US Food and Drug Administration this week granted fast track designation to Epitopoietic Research Corporation (ERC) Belgium's cell therapy Sitoiganap combined with bevacizumab, cyclophosphamide, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, or GM-CSF, as a treatment for recurrent glioblastoma. Sitoiganap, also called Gliovac or ERC1671, involves autologous brain tumor tissue that is surgically removed and processed to incorporate inactivated intact cells and disrupted lysed cells from different cancer patients. The mixture of patients' own tissue and the allogeneic material is meant to stimulate the patient's immune system to attack the residual tumor cells. ERC is currently evaluating the therapy in a Phase II clinical trial. According to the firm, the therapy has improved median overall survival in this patient population and improved quality of life among those who respond. 

SEngine Precision Medicine said this week that it has raised $19 million in a Series A funding round. Participants in the Series A2 round, which closed this week, included the Washington Research Foundation along with Alethea Fulcrum Fund, Vincere Capital Biotech, Bangarang Group, and unnamed investors. The Seattle-based company spun out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2015 and is developing a precision oncology platform that uses patient tumor samples to conduct ex vivo drug sensitivity testing, using a platform called PARIS, and to inform drug discovery. SEngine will use the proceeds to fund its drug discovery initiatives, pharmaceutical partnerships, and clinical validation of the PARIS test platform. 

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.