Square 1 Bank lends $7.5M to Durham’s Heat Biologics to test cancer therapy

A Durham-based drug developer could borrow up to $7.5 million from a Durham-based bank.

Heat Biologics (Nasdaq: HTBX), which has its office off Capitola Drive in south Durham, would borrow the money from Square 1 Bank, which has a history of working with small companies in and around Durham. Investors initially responded to the move positively, sending the share price up 5 percent in pre-market trading, but more negatively by mid-morning as the stock traded 5 percent below Friday’s close of $6.68.

Scientists at Heat Bio are working on a way to fight cancer that uses biology to encourage a cancer patient’s own immune system to fight the cancerous cells. Called the Immune Pan Antigen Cytotoxic Therapy – or more simply ImPACT – Heat scientists think they can take genetically modified cells from one human, reprogram them in a biological sense to act almost like a coach for the immune system, then inject them in a cancer patient and let them beef up the cancer patient’s immune system to fight cancerous cells.

Heat is currently working to use this method to fight certain lung and bladder cancers. It would use the borrowed money to work on the bladder program and to find a third type of cancer where ImPACT might work.

square 1 bank