March 20, 2024

Novo Holdings co-leads US$150M Series A financing in Clasp Therapeutics to advance precision immuno-oncology platform

Clasp brings exquisite precision to immuno-oncology through next-generation T cell engagers with unparalleled specificity

Founders include cancer genetics pioneer Bert Vogelstein and im-muno-oncology innovator Drew Pardoll of Johns Hopkins University

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20, 2024 - Novo Holdings, a leading life science in-vestor, today announced it has co-led a US$150M Series A Financing in Clasp Therapeutics (“Clasp”), a biotechnology company bringing unparalleled pre-cision to immuno-oncology through next-generation T cell engagers (TCEs).

TCEs are antibody-like molecules engineered to redirect the immune sys-tem’s T cells to promote an anti-cancer response. Clasp is developing modu-lar TCEs that are directed to common oncogenic driver mutations and tai-lored to each patient’s immune system, resulting in off-the-shelf, antibody-like medicines that can specifically target a wide variety of hard-to-treat tu-mor types.

Clasp is leveraging advances made by its Scientific Founders at Johns Hopkins University, including leading cancer geneticist Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and im-muno-oncology pioneer Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., who have envisioned a new approach to single out cancer cells for destruction by the immune sys-tem. The researchers’ structure-driven understanding of HLA-antibody inter-actions enables the engineering of advanced TCEs that can precisely target common oncogenic mutations with exquisite specificity.

Ray Camahort, Partner, Venture Investments, Novo Holdings US, said: “Our mission is to back high quality biotech companies with stellar teams that are developing novel treatments to make a significant difference to patients. Clasp is creating modular patient-specific and tumor-specific TCEs that enlist all of a patient’s various T cell types to destroy tumors bearing specific driver mutations, including many cancers that are unresponsive to standard im-muno-oncology. This personalized approach has the potential to transform cancer treatment.”

In connection with the financing, Camahort will join the Clasp Therapeutics Board of Directors.

“At Clasp we strive to help people with cancer lead longer and healthier lives by focusing each patient’s unique immune system on their distinctive tumor profile with absolute selectivity,” commented Robert Ross, MD, Chief Exec-utive Officer of Clasp Therapeutics. “Clasp brings together leading research-ers, clinicians and innovators to develop groundbreaking cancer immunother-apies that are precise and potent, but without the dose-limiting toxicity com-monly associated with on-target, off-tumor binding.”

Clasp’s TCEs are bispecific antibody-like molecules designed to bind both a tumor-specific mutant peptide presented in the context of the patient’s HLA immune signature and a T cell. By binding both the T cell and the tumor cell with absolute specificity, this approach ensures immune activation against the tumor itself while sparing normal tissue, which does not present the tu-mor-specific mutated peptide.

The financing was co-led by Novo Holdings, Catalio Capital Management and Third Rock Ventures, with participation from Vivo Capital, Cure Venture Cap-ital, Blackbird, PICTET, American Cancer Society/Bright Edge, Johns Hopkins University, and Alexandria Real Estate Equity.

Further information

Novo Holdings A/S
Dora González, Public Relations Specialist
+1 617 922 5027

Optimum Strategic Communications
Mary Clark, Vici Rabbetts, Katie Flint
+44 (0) 20 8078 4357

About Novo Holdings
Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and the wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of Novo Holdings is to improve people’s health and the sustainabil-ity of society and the planet by generating attractive long-term returns on the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Holdings is the con-trolling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S and manages

an investment portfolio, with a long-term return perspective. Novo Hold-ings is a world-leading life sciences investor. Through its Seeds, Venture, Growth, and Principal Investments teams, Novo Holdings invests in life sci-ence companies at all stages of development.

About Clasp Therapeutics
Clasp is bringing precision to immuno-oncology by developing next-genera-tion T cell engagers (TCEs) that target tumor-specific oncogenic drivers across hard-to-treat cancers. Clasp’s platform identifies mutation-associ-ated neoantigens and develops TCEs that can bind these oncogenic pep-tides in the context of HLA presentation. These innovative TCEs direct all T cell types to destroy the tumor. With their unique properties, TCEs are adaptable for application across a variety of cancers with unmet nee