September 1, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Bethesda, Md. – ImMAGE Biotherapeutics (IMMG) announced it is shutting its doors and discontinuing operations.
The company focused on oncology, specifically a DNA viral vaccine construct that targeted tumors that expressed the melanoma antigen family, A (MAGE-A) antigen. The MAGE-A antigen is a cancer testis antigen expressed within the human testes. The company is a subsidiary of PepVax Inc.
In March 2016, ImMAGE raised an initial seed round of $500,000 to launch the company. Its primary laboratory facility was based at Howard University in Washington, DC. The investor was Coventry International of Hong Kong. ImMAGE was founded in 2015.
At the time, the company’s chief scientific officer, Anton Dormer, said in a statement, “The technology that is being developed for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is beyond the cutting edge in its design. The company is dedicated to providing therapeutics that will increase human longevity and lead to enhancing women’s health in the near term.”
In June 2016, the company indicated it had successfully wrapped up positive in vitro trials and were moving into animal testing of possible lead candidates. “After completing in vitro trials, I’m even more confident in our team’s ability to transform groundbreaking research into a tangible patient therapy,” said Mahesh Narayanan, the company’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “All of our results were strong and conclusive—some even better than we anticipated. Right now we’re witnessing an immunotherapy revolution in cancer treatment, especially in the U.S., and we plan to play a big part for TNBC and other cancers as we begin our animal testing phase.”
The company stated that it was terminating operations because it couldn’t raise funds for day-to-day expenses and continued product development.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had temporarily suspended trading in the company’s securities “over concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace and potentially manipulative transactions in IMMG’s common stock in the secondary market.” As a result, ImMAGE was delisted from OTCQB and moved to the Grey Sheets. This made it much more difficult for the company to raise capital.
The company’s board made a shared statement: “After serving the advancement of cancer research for the past two years, it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to close ImMAGE Biotherapeutics. Our primary concern was to continue moving our research forward with our current funding. However, once that funding ran out, we were unable to secure further funding to support our operations and move our research to the next phase of testing. The decision to close our doors has been extraordinarily difficult. We postponed it for as long as possible and arrive at the conclusion only after immense consideration. However, due to several factors, it’s no longer financially viable for ImMAGE Biotherapeutics to operate.”
PepVax was founded in February 2013, and is working to develop immunotherapy for patients with triple-negative breast cancer by targeting MAGE-A on tumors using its SMARTmid Technology. It calls itself a bioinformatics company, and is using a software-based approach to drug discovery.
Mahesh Narayanan is its chief executive officer and Anton Dormer is also its chief scientific officer.