ACHILLES ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF IMMUNO-ONCOLOGY INDUSTRY LEADER, MICHAEL F. GIORDANO, M.D., TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Stevenage, 19 September 2018 – Achilles Therapeutics (“Achilles”), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies targeting clonal neoantigens, today announced that it has appointed senior pharmaceutical executive Michael F. Giordano, M.D., to its Board of Directors.

Dr. Iraj Ali, Achilles’ Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“We are delighted to welcome Michael Giordano to our Board of Directors. We are developing next-generation, truly patient-specific clonal-neoantigen therapies that will harness the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Michael brings a unique experience and insight that matches the ambition of Achilles and is a highly accomplished leader in our industry with an incredible track record and unique expertise in developing industry-changing immunotherapies that have fundamentally changed how cancer is treated. We look forward to drawing on his extensive experience as we progress our programs into the clinic.”

Dr. Giordano brings more than 15 years of experience leading pharmaceutical research and development organisations. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President and Head of Development, Oncology and Immuno-Oncology for Bristol-Myers Squibb where he was responsible for the development strategy of the enterprise for this therapeutic area, as well as direction for eight teams working on innovative medicines to improve the standard of care for patients, including Opdivo®, Yervoy®, Empliciti™, and Sprycel®. Prior to this role, Dr. Giordano held positions of increasing responsibility within the research and development organisation, leading the development of more than a dozen molecules in the United States, the European Union and Asia. Before joining BMS, he served as Assistant Professor of Medicine and Founding Director of the Cornell Clinical Trials Unit, a National Institutes of Health and Industry supported AIDS clinical trials center at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. Dr. Giordano holds two other Board positions; FLX Bio Inc and Epizyme, Inc.

Dr Michael Giordano said:
“It is an exciting time for Achilles. The strength of the science and the founding team who are world leading experts in the understanding of cancer evolution, bioinformatics and the development of cell-based immunotherapies, are compelling reasons to join the Achilles Board. I look forward to working with them, alongside the strong management team, as the Company progresses its innovative immunotherapy programmes into the clinic. The patient-specific clonal-neoantigen approaches under development by Achilles have the potential to bring the next wave of revolutionary new immunotherapies to cancer patients.”

Dr Giordano earned his M.D. and completed his residency and fellowship training at The New York Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical and received his B.A. in Natural Sciences cum laude from The Johns Hopkins University.
– Ends –

Further information:

Achilles Therapeutics
Dr Iraj Ali – Chief Executive Officer
+44 (0)1438 906 906
media@achillestx.com

JW Communications
Julia Wilson
+44 (0)7818 430877
juliawilsonuk@gmail.com

Notes for Editors:

About Achilles Therapeutics
Achilles Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer immunotherapies targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to each individual that are expressed on the surface of every cancer cell. Achilles uses DNA sequencing data from each patient, together with proprietary bioinformatics technology, to identify clonal neoantigens specific to that patient and enable the development of personalised therapies.
Targeting multiple clonal neoantigens that are present on all cancer cells, but not on healthy cells, reduces the risk that new mutations can induce immune evasion and therapeutic resistance, and allows individualised treatments to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissues. Achilles was founded by lead Investor Syncona Ltd and its shareholders include the CRT Pioneer Fund, UCL Technology Fund, Cancer Research Technology, with the support of UCL Business (UCLB) and the Francis Crick Institute. For further information please visit the Company’s website at: www.achillestx.com

About Syncona Ltd
Syncona is a leading FTSE250 healthcare company focused on investing in and building global leaders in life science. Our vision is to deliver transformational treatments to patients in truly innovative areas of healthcare while generating superior returns for shareholders.
We seek to partner with the best, brightest and most ambitious minds in science to build globally competitive businesses.
We take a long-term view, underpinned by a deep pool of capital, and are established leaders in gene and cell therapy. We focus on delivering dramatic efficacy for patients in areas of high unmet need.

ACHILLES FOUNDERS MAP TRUNCAL AND BRANCHED MUTATIONS

Achilles Founders map truncal and branched mutations and copy number events to predict early relapse in non-small cell cancer lungs, opening up significant new opportunities for clinical trial design and monitoring of patients

A large scale Cancer Research UK study, TRACERx, which is led by the founders of Achilles, has found that unstable chromosomes within lung tumours increase the risk of cancer returning after surgery. The findings, which have been published in two prestigious medical research publications, the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature, reveal new insights into how tumours evolve and evade treatment, a leading cause of cancer death.

TRACERx, under lead researcher and Achilles founder Professor Charles Swanton, is the first study to look at the evolution of cancer in real time in immense detail. Researchers followed patients all the way from diagnosis through to either disease relapse or cure after surgery, tracking and analysing how their cancer developed.

Dr Chris Ashton, CEO of Achilles, said: “We continue to be excited by the value of what TRACERx is delivering and the impact this is having in helping Achilles develop new patient specific therapies that harness the immune system to destroy cancer cells. TRACERx is a unique resource which is enabling us to accelerate these potentially transformational therapies into the clinic.”

More information about the findings released in the research can be found here

ACHILLES THERAPEUTICS 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 2017Achilles 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.’

ENDS

1 Achilles Therapeutics launched with funds of £13.2m to develop immunotherapies for cancer

 

For more information, please contact:

Achilles Therapeutics

Chris Ashton, CEO                                                                               +44 (0)1438 906906

info@achillestx.com

 

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Martino Picardo, CEO                                                                           +44 (0)1438 906906

Emma Palmer Foster, Strategic Communications Consultant                +44 (0)7880 787185

comms@stevenagecatalyst.com

 

Notes for Editors

About Achilles Therapeutics

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

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders are GlaxoSmithKline (www.gsk.com), Wellcome (www.wellcome.ac.uk), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy; formerly the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board; www.innovateuk.org).

 

ACHILLES THERAPEUTICS LAUNCHED WITH FUNDS OF £13.2 MILLION TO DEVELOP IMMUNOTHERAPIES FOR CANCER

ACHILLES THERAPEUTICS LAUNCHED WITH FUNDS OF £13.2 MILLION TO DEVELOP IMMUNOTHERAPIES FOR CANCER Wednesday 5 October, 2016 SYNCONA LLP and CANCER RESEARCH TECHNOLOGY (CRT) announce the formation of Achilles Therapeutics Ltd today (Wednesday).

The new private company will bring 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).

Achilles Therapeutics will design therapies to target truncal tumour neo-antigens – unique flags to the immune system present on the surface of every cancer cell*, which were first discovered by Cancer Research UK and the NIHR University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) funded scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL Cancer Institute.

Truncal tumour neo-antigens are present on all cancer cells in an individual patient’s tumour but not on healthy cells, so could allow scientists to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissues.

Syncona and CRT, with the support of UCL Business (UCLB) and the Crick, formed Achilles Therapeutics with a successful financing round of £13.2 million ($17.5 million) led by Syncona with the CRT Pioneer Fund and the UCL Technology Fund.

The company founders bring together world-class capability from three prestigious institutions. They are:

  1.  Professor Charles Swanton, Group Leader and Royal Society Napier Professor at the Francis Crick and UCL Cancer Institute working on cancer evolution and genome instability and a consultant at UCLH
  2. Professor Karl Peggs, Group Leader of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute and a consultant at UCLH
  3. Dr Sergio Quezada, Group Leader of the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute
  4. Professor Mark Lowdell, Director of the Centre for Cell, Gene & Tissue Therapeutics at the Royal Free Hospital.

 

CRT will receive equity milestones and royalties from products developed and commercialised by Achilles Therapeutics. Any such financial reward from the company will be shared with UCLB and the Crick.

The company has exclusive rights to develop and commercialise neo-antigen technologies arising from Cancer Research UK’s £14million TRACERx study**. This clinical study, involving 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. It receives infrastructure support from the NIHR University College London Hospitals BRC and is being carried out at the Clinical Research Facility at UCLH.

Professor Charles Swanton, scientific founder of Achilles Therapeutics and a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, said: “Our research could provide a truly personalised 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. We’re delighted to be able to bring this exciting science closer to the clinic. We hope to create a new and kinder treatment for this hard-to-treat disease that results in around 36,000 patient deaths each year in the UK ***.”

Iraj Ali, Partner with Syncona LLP and Director of Achilles Therapeutics, said: “In founding Achilles we believe we are working with the world leaders capable of exploiting the confluence of two of the most exciting and innovative fields in healthcare today: cancer bioinformatics and immuno-therapy. Our ambition is to build a company to deliver personalised therapies with transformative potential for cancer patients with the greatest need.”

Chris Ashton, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, said: “This company is underpinned by worldleading science, committed investors and leading health institutes. Bringing all of these major players together holds great promise for non-small cell lung cancer patients and I hope that working alongside one another we will see great successes in the future.”

ENDS

For media enquiries contact Emily Head in the Cancer Research Technology press office on 020 3469 6189 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.

Notes to editor:

* http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2016/03/03/new-immunotherapy-discovery-could-givetreatments-the-precision-they-need/

** http://www.cruklungcentre.org/Research/TRACERx

 

*** Calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, by applying the estimated proportion of non-small cell lung cancer cases (85%) to the annual average number of new lung cancer (ICD10 C33-C34) cases diagnosed in the UK between 2012-2014.

About Syncona

Syncona LLP was founded in 2012 and operates as an evergreen investment company, taking an active role in identifying, developing and funding technologies with the potential to significantly impact the healthcare market of the future. Syncona can take the long view when necessary, able to concentrate investment into opportunities as technology is validated. Syncona is an independent subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust that invested the initial £200m capitalisation. For further information please visit the Company’s website at: www.synconapartners.com

About the Francis Crick Institute

The Francis Crick Institute is a new and distinctive biomedical research institute. Research groups are now moving into its purpose-built laboratory in the King’s Cross area of London. The institute’s work – which is already underway at the Crick’s Clare Hall, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Mill Hill laboratories – will help to understand why disease develops. We will find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses − such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases. We will bring together outstanding scientists from all disciplines, carrying out research that will help improve the health and quality of people’s lives, and keeping the UK at the forefront of medical innovation. The Francis Crick Institute is a charity supported by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College. https://crick.ac.uk/

About UCL Business PLC

UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market. For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com About UCL Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has almost 29,000 students from 150 countries and in the region of 10,000 employees. For further information, please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk

About the UCL Technology Fund

The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund supports UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application. The Fund is managed by Albion Ventures, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business. For further information, please visit: www.ucltf.co.uk

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).

About the CRT Pioneer Fund

The CRT Pioneer Fund is a £70m Fund dedicated to investment in oncology development programmes in Europe. The sweet spot for investment is pre-lead optimisation through to early clinical trials in man. The Fund is dedicated to asset financing projects emanating from Europe and expects to commit two-thirds of its investment to projects derived from Cancer Research UK’s oncology drug discovery portfolio with the remainder being invested in projects from outside Cancer Research UK.

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com and about Cancer Research UK at www.cancerresearchuk.org.