ACHILLES STARTS 2017 WITH MOVE TO STEVENAGE BIOSCIENCE CATALYST
Achilles Therapeutics starts 2017 with move to Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Immunotherapy company joins growing cell & gene therapy community on campusStevenage, UK, January 4 2017 – Achilles Therapeutics, which is focused on the development of novel cancer immunotherapies targeting neoantigens, has moved into its new headquarters at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the open innovation campus driving collaboration to improve healthcare. Following its recent £13.2m fundraising round led by Syncona1, Achilles Therapeutics will be growing rapidly over the course of 2017, with a total of 25 staff expected to be working at the company by the end of the year. The firm is the latest addition to the growing cell and gene therapy ecosystem at SBC.
Launched in October last year, Achilles Therapeutics occupies laboratory and office space at SBC. It is focused on therapies to target truncal tumour neo-antigens – unique flags to the immune system present on the surface of every cancer cell – and has exclusive rights to develop and commercialise neo-antigen technologies arising from Cancer Research UK’s £14m TRACERx study, which involves 850 people with non-small cell lung cancer. The private company brings together world-class research from UCL (University College London) and the Francis Crick Institute, funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Chris Ashton, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, said, ‘The company is delighted to start 2017 in our new premises at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. Achilles Therapeutics is impressed by the vibrancy of the cell and gene therapy community here, which includes key UK players such as the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre. With a strong focus on hiring this year, SBC is a great place for us to be located.’
Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said, ‘The research being undertaken by Achilles Therapeutics is cutting edge, and it is a great achievement for us to host one of the first Crick Institute spin-outs here. Cell and gene therapy plays a key role in our plans for Phase 2 of the campus, and companies such as Achilles Therapeutics will make a significant contribution to its success.’
Achilles Therapeutics is focused on the development of novel cancer immunotherapies targeting truncal tumour neo-antigens, and brings together world-class research from UCL (University College London) and the Francis Crick Institute, funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Truncal tumour neo-antigens are unique flags to the immune system present on all cancer cells in an individual patient’s tumour but not on healthy cells, allowing scientists to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissues. The company has exclusive rights to develop and commercialise neo-antigen technologies arising from Cancer Research UK’s £14million TRACERx study. The study, which involves 850 people with non-small cell lung cancer, tracks the evolution of patients’ cancers over time, in different parts of their tumours and in response to treatment.
Syncona LLP and Cancer Research Technology, with the support of UCL Business (UCLB) and the Francis Crick Institute, formed Achilles Therapeutics in October 2016. A successful financing round of £13.2m was led by Syncona with the CRT Pioneer Fund and the UCL Technology Fund. For more information please go to https://achillestx.com/.
About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) opened as the UK’s first open innovation biomedical campus in 2012, and combines a unique blend of infrastructure and virtual networks to drive collaboration. Backed by a novel partnership between Government, GlaxoSmithKline and Wellcome, the remit was, and remains, to catalyse innovation for patient benefit in a phased development. SBC has a strong commitment to companies that focus on high quality science and share its vision, and its development of activity clusters and direct access to the expertise of a major pharmaceutical company are among its unique characteristics. There is start-up and grow-on space for companies, plus a commercially focused management team viewed as a leader in UK incubation. With Phase 1 at capacity, the next phase is in development for the continuation of the collaborative vision. Co-located with GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is located close to both London and Cambridge. For more information, please go to www.stevenagecatalyst.com. Follow us on twitter @SteBioCat
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