Philadelphia Cancer-Fighting Biotech Startup Raises $3.2M

Navrogen Inc., a Philadelphia biotechnology company that has set up shop on the campus of St. Joseph’s University, closed a $3.2 million financing.

The convertible note financing was led by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania and a group of private investors.

Navrogen plans to use the proceeds to advance its humoral immuno-oncology discovery platform and its pipeline of drug candidates in preclinical testing.

The company was founded by two former Morphotek executives: Nicholas Nicolaides, Navrogen president and CEO, and Luigi Grasso, the company’s vice president and chief scientific officer. It now has four full-time employees.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Business Journal earlier this year, Nicolaides explained the human immune system has two main parts to control abnormal cells that lead to cancer: One is cell-mediated responses, where T-cells directly attack abnormal cells, and the other is humoral [also known as antibody-mediated] responses in which B-cells make antibodies that can attack foreign pathogens or abnormal cells.

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