Heat Biologics Inc (NASDAQ:HTBX), one of the leaders in the production and development of novel therapies for activating patient’s immune system has announced that its subsidiary, Pelican Therapeutics is at advanced stages and has met important milestones in product development and has received the first batch of the $15.2 million worthy of million Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant award.

In a statement, Heat Founder and CEO Jeff Wolf said the company has made a lot of progress in developing the PTX-25, its lead antibody. He added they have met important milestones like antibody development studies, affinity maturation and epitope mapping. He added that the CPRIT award will offer the company with a non-dilutive funding so as to take care of costs of IND-enabling studies for a comprehensive, 70-patient Phase 1 clinical study which is meant to examine the combination of PTX-25 and other immune-oncology drugs.

Heat’s recent acquisition of Pelican has strengthened its portfolio in the upcoming T cell activation market. PTX-25 is a leading costimulatory antibody in the fights against TNFRSF25, which is an emerging T cells costimulatory receptor. PTX-25 has the ability to cause an improvement in clinical response working together with Heat’s ImPACT vaccine platform and other immunotherapy drugs. The drug works by stimulating the secretion of antigen specific “memory” CD8+ T cells, which are critical in the eradication of tumor.

When combined with checkpoint inhibitors plus other treatments, T cell costimulatory therapy like PTX-25 can cause significant improvements in clinical responses for a wide range of patients.

Recently Heat Biologics announced the acquisition of 80% stake in Pelican. The company entered into a definitive agreement with the holders of 75.5% of the outstanding capital stock of Pelican Therapeutics, Inc. Pelican, which has its headquarters in Austin, Texas is a private immuno-oncology company specializing in the development of TNFRSF25 agonists. TNFRSF25 is a well differentiated and best-in-class T cell costimulatory receptor.

According to the acquisition agreement, Heat paid Pelican stockholders an upfront cash of $500,000 plus 1,323,021 shares of Heat common stock. This represents 4.99% of Heat outstanding shares.