Sensei Gets Uma Thurman, Tesla Board Member as Investors

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Sensei Biotherapeutics Inc. won actress Uma Thurman and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson as new investors ahead of a potential initial public offering in coming months.

Sensei raised $30 million to advance research on its personalized cancer therapies, the Boston-based company said in an emailed statement.

The fund-raising comes after Sensei, which is working on developing cancer therapies that train the immune system to fight diseased cells thanks to bacterial viruses, mandated banks including Citigroup Inc. to advise on an IPO, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last month.

The financing was co-led by German investor Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group and Catalio Capital, with additional funds coming from Jurvetson’s Future Ventures, Louis Bacon’s Moore Strategic Ventures as well as biotech funds Pura Vida and Cambrian Biopharma.

Thurman confirmed by email that she took part in the financing round.

“With our technology, once a patient’s cancer is genetically profiled we can have a personalized cocktail of ImmunoPhage delivered to that patient within a week,” Chief Executive Officer John Celebi said in the statement.

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The company’s approach has yet to show it works in clinical trials. The final results of a test of its lead product, called SNS-301, are expected by the end of the year.

The firm could raise $100 million via an IPO in New York and be valued at about $500 million, people familiar with the company said last month. They declined to be identified because the plan is confidential.

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