Startups, Venture

UK startup tackles hot neoantigen field in cancer drugs

Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research have come together to back a $17.5 million round for a new upstart entering the increasingly hot neoantigen field.

The new biotech is called Achilles Therapeutics, and it’s working on developing cancer drugs based on the insights of several experts from top academic groups in the country. Their focus is on truncal tumor neoantigens, with a spotlight on lung cancer.

“Our research could provide a truly personalized approach to lung cancer therapy by targeting cell surface markers that are specific to each patient and present on all cancer cells rather than just a subset of cells,” says Charles Swanton, Group Leader and Royal Society Napier Professor at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL Cancer Institute working on cancer evolution and genome instability and a consultant at UCLH.

The other founding scientists are:

— Professor Karl Peggs, Group Leader of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute and a consultant at UCLH.

—Dr Sergio Quezada, Group Leader of the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute.

— Professor Mark Lowdell, Director of the Centre for Cell, Gene & Tissue Therapeutics at the Royal Free Hospital.

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