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9 September, 2019 - 09:51 By Tony Quested

US investor joins Achilles Therapeutics £100m Series B round

Dr Iraj Ali

Achilles Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing personalised cancer immunotherapies, has closed a £100 million Series B financing led by incoming US investor RA Capital Management, corner-stoned by founding investor Syncona and joined by important new investors including Forbion, Invus, Perceptive Advisors and Redmile Group.

Proceeds from this financing will deliver two human proof-of-concept studies using a unique personalised T cell therapy approach targeting clonal neoantigens in non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. 

These programmes are expected to enter the clinic this year. The financing will enable the company to continue building out its manufacturing capabilities as well as broadening its growing solid tumour pre-clinical product pipeline.

This is the second huge deal for a company based at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst in the last week, following Gyroscope’s £50.4m raise; like Achilles, Gyroscope is Syncona founded and backed. 

Dr Iraj Ali, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, said: “Achilles is leading the next wave of immuno-oncology drug development. We have moved from concept to clinic-ready in less than three years. 

“With this fundraising we have made a clear statement about the scale and nature of our ambitions to bring novel cancer therapies rapidly to patients with a high unmet medical need.”

In association with the financing, Achilles has added two leading life science executives to the board: Dr Derek DiRocco, principal of RA Capital Management and Dr Rogier Rooswinkel, partner at Forbion.

Achilles is developing personalised T cell therapies for solid tumours targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to each patient that are present on the surface of all cancer cells. 

Using its PELEUS™ bioinformatics platform, Achilles can identify clonal neoantigens from each patient’s unique tumour profile which are present on every cancer cell. 

Achilles uses its proprietary process to manufacture T cells which seek to exquisitely target a specific set of clonal neoantigens in each patient. 

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 potentially target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissue.

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