Fenwick & West represented MRL Ventures Fund, the strategic investment arm of Merck & Co., Inc. that is focused on innovative therapeutics companies developing transformative medicines, in a $53 million Series A financing in Carisma Therapeutics Inc., formerly CARMA Therapeutics, a privately-held biotechnology company focused on the development of macrophage-based immunotherapeutics. AbbVie Ventures and HealthCap led the round with participation from existing seed investors IP Group, Penn Medicine and Grazia Equity. MRL Ventures and additional new investors, including Wellington Partners TPG Biotech and Agent Capital, also participated in the round.
Carisma will use the capital to further expand its technology platform and rapidly drive its programs toward clinical development. In particular, Carisma plans to develop its CAR-Macrophage platform, the first technology to combine antigen recognition with the effector function of macrophages, with the aim to initiate clinical development in 2019. More information regarding MRL Ventures’ participation in Carisma’s $53 million Series A financing can be obtained from the company announcement.
The Fenwick transaction team was led by corporate lawyers Ian Goldstein, William Black and Feihong Xu.