New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that has backed the likes of Groupon and Salesforce, is now investing in a biotechnology company developing a treatment for cancer.
The venture firm, which has a significant health care business, has led a $104 million financing round in Adaptimmune Limited, the company announced on Wednesday evening. The round, at the Series A stage, is believed to be among the largest for a biotechnology company at this early point of its development.
Adaptimmune, which was founded in 2008 and spun off from theUniversity of Oxford, focuses on using T-cells, a type of white blood cell, to treat several types of cancer. The company says it has developed a way to enhance receptors on the cells, making them better able to recognize cancers.
The firm’s strategy, when compared with methods used by other biotechnology firms, gives the T-cells a wider range of targets to identify a cancerous cell, according to James Noble, the chief executive of Adaptimmune. The company, based in Philadelphia, is currently running trials for cancers including multiple myeloma, melanoma, sarcoma and ovarian cancer.