NeoPhore raises £15.2m to advance vital cancer pathway

Cambridge cancer therapy specialist NeoPhore has raised a £15.2 million Series B round to advance its DNA mismatch repair pipeline.

The syndicate was led by Claris Ventures and included 2Invest, 3B Future Health Fund and Astellas Venture Management alongside founding investor the CRT Pioneer Fund.

NeoPhore is focused on the discovery and development of novel first-in-class small molecule drugs targeting the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway to treat cancer. 

NeoPhore will work closely with its scientific founder Dr Alberto Bardelli from the University of Turin where the original scientific discovery originated and Dr Luis Diaz (Memorial Sloan Kettering and SAB member) to exploit the concept that inhibition of MMR in tumours generates neoantigens that the patients’ own immune system can target with a powerful anti-tumour response. The financing will be used to advance NeoPhore’s drug discovery pipeline.

Dr Matthew Baker, CEO of NeoPhore, said: “This financing validates NeoPhore’s novel and highly differentiated approach. Our programmes comprise novel first-in-class inhibitors and modulators that target the MMR pathway. 

“These drugs are designed to work in concert with existing immunotherapies to stimulate immunity directly at cancer’s core, effectively forcing cancer cells to reveal themselves to the patients’ immune system. 

“We anticipate a huge patient benefit in the level and durability of anti-cancer responses in a wide range of indications.”

Chairman Dr Robert James added: “We welcome the new investors to NeoPhore. The recent emergence of novel immunotherapy treatments highlights that the patients’ immune system can both detect and fight cancer. 

“However, long-lived and effective cancer immunity relies strongly on the presence of cancer neoantigens. NeoPhore is discovering drugs that create neoantigens and this financing will enable NeoPhore to cement its leading position in MMR drug discovery.”

In conjunction with the Series B, Pietro Puglisi from Claris Ventures, Heikki Lanckriet from 2Invest and Marianne Bjordal from 3B Future Health Fund, will join NeoPhore as directors.

NeoPhore was spun-out of the University of Turin and PhoreMost Ltd by the CRT Pioneer Fund.

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