At­las part­ner Sa­ha takes the helm at Delinia, look­ing to dis­rupt au­toim­mune R&D

As a ven­ture part­ner at At­las, Saurabh Sa­ha gets to look over a whole range of pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams that come its way, in­clud­ing pro­posed drug can­di­dates that can be used to start a new biotech. And the one that re­al­ly grabbed his at­ten­tion is an au­toim­mune project that will now form the core work at a start­up called Delinia.

The fo­cus at Delinia is a nov­el cy­tokine that Sa­ha tells me has a re­al shot at “ex­pand­ing and po­ten­ti­at­ing” reg­u­la­to­ry T cells, or Tregs. There’s a long list of dis­eases trig­gered when the bal­ance of Tregs and T ef­fec­tor cells is dis­rupt­ed and the im­mune sys­tem starts to at­tack healthy tis­sue. By ex­pand­ing Tregs, mak­ing it more ac­tive, Sa­ha be­lieves that Delinia’s drug can re­store im­mune tol­er­ance and home­osta­sis, stop­ping the dis­ease.

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