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Nohla Therapeutics founder and Chief Science Officer Colleen Delaney (left) and CEO Kathleen Fanning. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)

Seattle startup Nohla Therapeutics has reeled in another $11 million to further develop its leukemia treatment.

The spinout of Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is developing a novel stem cell treatment for leukemia that uses cells from donated umbilical cord blood. It could be more effective than traditional bone marrow transplants.

In May the company released results from a study that showed 86 percent of patients (13 out of 15) surviving the disease and remaining cancer-free five years after its dilanubicel treatment. None of the patients experienced severe graft versus host disease, a major concern for stem cell transplant recipients.

The results show a higher survival rate than the average for leukemia patients, although those rates vary greatly depending on the patients’ age and the kind of leukemia they have.

Colleen Delaney (left) explaining the process Nohla uses to grow and control stem cells to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane)

Nohla’s flagship product, dilanubicel, is currently in the second of three clinical trial phases that the FDA requires before it will consider new treatments for approval to go to market. It is an umbilical cord blood treatment for leukemia that uses the same basic technology as a more traditional bone marrow transplant.

Instead of requiring a donor that is a close biological match to the patient, cord blood transplants are much more universal and can be administered off-the-shelf. They can also be more effective in the long run, although patients tend to have a more immediate risk of developing a deadly infection, something Nohla is working to counter.

The treatment is based on the work of Nohla Founder and Chief Science Officer Colleen Delaney, who developed the science behind it as a researcher at Fred Hutch.

The funding adds to a Series B round that has topped $56 million. New investors in the round include University of Tokyo Edge Capital, Schroder Adveq, and Premier Partners. Existing investors include Fidelity Management and Research Company, Celgene Corporation, ARCH Venture Partners, 5AM Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and AML Biotech Partners.

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