Neobe Therapeutics, an early-stage startup, has raised £520K ($628,000) in equity funding to engineer live biotherapeutics to remove barriers to immune infiltration in solid tumours.
While immunotherapies have revolutionised the treatment of cancer, the large majority of patients with solid tumours (up to 85%) still do not respond to them. Neobe was founded by Pedro Correa de Sampaio and Annelise Soulier to address this significant unmet clinical need.
Combining immuno-oncology and bacterial engineering, Neobe is developing a platform for the engineering of programmable live biotherapeutics to disrupt biophysical barriers in the local microenvironment of solid tumours which can prevent immune infiltration.
By enabling immune cells to penetrate these immune-excluded tumours, Neobe is predicting that its products could double the number of cancer patients that respond to existing immunotherapies.
The company is working with one of its key advisors, Prof Geoff Baldwin, Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology, to develop the genetic circuits that underlie its bacterial engineering platform.
Remodelling of the tumour microenvironment
The equity round is led by Discovery Park Ventures and Nadav Rosenberg, and will enable studies of Neobe’s initial prototype, targeted at patients with certain types of refractory colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Efficacy studies will be performed using a patient-derived ex vivo model developed by Dr Oliver Pearce at the Barts Cancer Institute, as part of an ongoing collaboration.
Mayer Schreiber, Chairman of Discovery Park Ventures said: “For many cancer patients their disease remains untreatable despite significant recent therapeutic advances and so we are very excited by the potential of Neobe’s novel approach to remodelling of the tumour microenvironment. We are impressed by the progress the co-founders Annelise and Pedro have made and are delighted to welcome Neobe Therapeutics to the Discovery Park Ventures portfolio as our fourth investment.”
Neobe was also recently awarded a prestigious Biomedical Catalyst grant from Innovate UK, in collaboration with Dr Pearce, to initiate development of a second product targeting patients with triple negative breast cancer.