ClaspCAMBRIDGE, Mass. & ROCKVILLE, Md.--()--Clasp Therapeutics, a biotechnology company bringing unparalleled precision to immuno-oncology using next-generation T cell engagers (TCEs), launched today with $150 million in financing.

The round was led by Catalio Capital Management, Third Rock Ventures and Novo Holdings, with participation from Vivo Capital, Cure Ventures, Blackbird BioVentures, Pictet Alternative Advisors, American Cancer Society’s Bright Edge and Alexandria Venture Investments. Clasp is developing modular TCEs tailored to each patient’s immune system that are directed to common oncogenic driver mutations, resulting in off-the-shelf, antibody-like medicines that can specifically target a wide variety of hard-to-treat tumor types.

“At Clasp we strive to help people with cancer lead longer and healthier lives by engaging each patient’s own immune cells to eradicate their cancer with absolute specificity,” said Chief Executive Officer Robert Ross, M.D. “Clasp brings together leading researchers, clinicians and drug developers to develop groundbreaking cancer immunotherapies that are precise and potent, but without the toxicities commonly associated with on-target, off-tumor binding.”

Clasp is leveraging advances made by its scientific founders at Johns Hopkins University, including leading cancer geneticist and HHMI investigator Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and immuno-oncology pioneer Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., who have envisioned a new approach to single out cancer cells for destruction by the immune system. The researchers’ structure-driven understanding of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-antibody interactions enables the engineering of advanced TCEs that can precisely target common oncogenic mutations with exquisite specificity.

“We have the ability to redirect T cells to kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells throughout the body,” said Andrea Van Elsas, Ph.D., Partner at Third Rock Ventures and Chief Scientific Officer at Clasp. “Clasp’s proprietary technology enables immune targeting of intracellular oncogenic driver mutations to achieve durable tumor killing, even with low levels of surface presentation. Furthermore, the modularity of Clasp’s TCE platform gives it potential to address unmet need across a broad range of hard-to-treat tumor types.”

Clasp’s TCEs are bispecific antibody-like molecules designed to simultaneously bind both a T cell and a tumor-specific mutant peptide, presented in the context of the patient’s HLA immune signature. A key aspect of this approach is Clasp’s ability to select patients for treatment by focusing on common tumor-specific driver mutations, including many that are unresponsive to standard immunotherapies. 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 lacks the tumor-specific mutated peptide.

“Clasp’s novel technology has tremendous potential to help the many cancer patients who are unable to benefit from existing treatments,” said Jacob Vogelstein, Ph.D., and George Petrocheilos, Managing Partners of Catalio Capital Management. “We are excited to partner with Third Rock Ventures, Novo Holdings and the other members of the syndicate to support the company and advance immuno-oncology into a new era.”

As part of the financing, Ray Camahort, Partner in the Venture Investments group at Novo Holdings U.S., and Jack Nielsen, Managing Partner of Vivo Capital, joined the Board of Directors.

About Clasp Therapeutics
Clasp is pioneering precision in immuno-oncology through next-generation T cell engagers (TCEs) that target tumor-specific oncogenic driver mutations common across hard-to-treat cancers. Clasp’s platform identifies mutation-associated neoantigens and develops TCEs that can selectively bind HLA (human leukocyte antigen)-presented peptides derived from these oncogenic drivers. These innovative TCEs direct all T cell types to destroy the tumor. With their unique properties, Clasp’s TCEs are adaptable for application across a variety of cancers with high unmet need. Please visit to learn more.


Kit Rodophele
Ten Bridge Communications
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