Biopharmaceutical company Agalimmune has secured funding from an investment group comprising Loxbridge Research and Animatrix Capital. Agalimmune is based both in London and California.
Agalimmune Ltd, a biopharmaceutical company, has been created to develop innovative immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, with a focus on solid tumours. The new company has been founded by an investment group comprising Loxbridge Research LLP and Animatrix Capital LLP. Agalimmune is based both in London (Agalimmune Ltd) and California (Agalimmune Inc.). The funding will be used to continue the translation of Agalimmune’s leading immunotherapeutic technology, AlphajectTM, licensed from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), to the clinic.
Alphaject is based on over 20 years of biomedical research carried out by UMMS Professor of Surgery and Medicine Uri Galili, PhD, who discovered the anti-gal immune response and its role in ‘hyper-acute’ organ rejection. The Alphaject technology includes methods for treating solid tumours in such a way that the immune system actively rejects them, akin to a non-matched graft or transplant. Tumours are directly injected with the Alphaject compound, to which humans naturally have a high antibody titre. Alphaject coats the tumour cells in alphagal, thereby presenting a foreign antigen to the immune system. This is thought to bring about a ‘hyper-acute rejection’ of the tumour, and breaks the immune tolerance shielding the tumour from attack, allowing the immune system to both begin to destroy the tumour immediately and also to confer a long-lasting protection over time in the form of enhanced immune surveillance. The effect is analogous to a personalised cancer vaccine, acting continuously to prevent both metastasis and recurrence.
Mike Westby, CEO of Agalimmune, commented: “The development of immunomodulatory therapies is an exciting and rapidly emerging field, which hopefully will lead to improved anti-cancer treatments for patients. We welcome Loxbridge Research and Animatrix Capital as investors.”
Dr Charles Roberts, MD, CEO of Loxbridge Research, said: “Agalimmune is the first therapeutic investment we have made at a stage when the technology has already been in patients, and we are honoured to be working with proven innovators UMass Medical School and Dr Galili, in furthering this promising treatment toward the eventual benefit of people battling cancer. The investment we are making in the technology represents an upper mid-size in our portfolio, and whilst it will follow our investment model in general we are delighted to welcome in a dedicated and industry-experienced team from the outset, given the relatively late stage of the technology.”
“Immunotherapy holds great promise as a potential cancer treatment because it allows the body’s own immune system to identify and eradicate cancer cells,” said Giles Whalen, MD, professor of surgical oncology at UMass Medical School and principal investigator on early clinical trials to develop the Alphaject technology. “One of the great benefits of this approach is that the immune system can seek out and attack even the smallest traces of tumour anywhere in the body. What makes Alphaject so remarkable is that it’s designed to alert the immune system and respond to a specific type of cancer cell. Unlike other immunomodulatory therapies, which may stimulate the immune system to attack cells indiscriminately, this helps ensure healthy cells don’t get mistakenly targeted and destroyed.”
Notes to Editors.
For more information please contact:
Lorna Cuddon, Zyme Communications
+44 (0)7811 996 942
Jim Fessenden, University of Massachusetts Medical School
About Agalimmune www.agalimmune.com
Agalimmune is a biopharmaceutical company with an innovative anti-cancer technology for the treatment of patients with solid tumors. The Company’s vision is to harness the power of the cancer patient’s own immune system to specifically target the tumor; not only to kill the tumor cells but also to bring about a long-lasting protective anti-tumor immune response. In addition to its ongoing efforts to develop cancer treatments, Agalimmune also establishes partnerships and collaborations with leading institutions and companies to research and develop pioneering targeted cancer vaccines and cell-based immunotherapeutic products. These internal and external efforts will continue to position Agalimmune at the cutting edge of innovative anti-cancer technologies.
About Loxbridge www.loxbridgeresearch.com
Loxbridge Research LLP is a UK-based investment and project-management company founded in 2008 to create innovative life sciences technologies companies addressing massive global unmet needs. It sources innovation from academic institutions, existing companies and independent scientists – as well as a significant element of internal invention via its own team and extensive network of innovation-partners / key opinion leaders. The company is headquartered in the Royal Institution of Great Britain in Mayfair, London with activities (portfolio investments, labs, and academic partnerships) elsewhere in the UK and US.
About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), one of five campuses of the University system, is comprised of the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate School of Nursing, a thriving research enterprise and an innovative public service initiative, Commonwealth Medicine. Its mission is to advance the health of the people of the Commonwealth through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. In doing so, it has built a reputation as a world-class research institution and as a leader in primary care education. The Medical School attracts more than $240 million annually in research funding, placing it among the top 50 medical schools in the nation. In 2006, UMMS’s Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with colleague Andrew Z. Fire, PhD, of Stanford University, for their discoveries related to RNA interference (RNAi). The 2013 opening of the Albert Sherman Center ushered in a new era of biomedical research and education on campus. Designed to maximize collaboration across fields, the Sherman Center is home to scientists pursuing novel research in emerging scientific fields with the goal of translating new discoveries into innovative therapies for human diseases.