New biotech start up for cancer treatment launches
The pioneering work carried out by the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology has led to the creation of an exciting new biotech company.
Cellinta Limited has been established through an investment by SV Health Investors and Cancer Research UK to develop new gene therapies to target various forms of cancer. The funds will help build a pipeline of highly selective gene therapies targeting cancer stem cells in various types of solid tumours.
The company draws on research conducted by Professor Steven Pollard and largely funded through the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology. He has applied the principles of engineered biology to stem cell biology and cancer genomics to generate novel therapeutics.
Professor Pollard is Professor of Stem Cell and Cancer Biology at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre and is the scientific founder and senior adviser to the new company.
Cellinta will be led by CEO Dr Soraya Bekkali, who has more than 20 years’ experience in drug development and business strategy, with a focus on gene therapy. Dr Bekkali said gene therapy can potentially overcome some of the drug delivery challenges encountered by past drug candidates. Mike Ross, Managing Partner at London-based SV Health Investors, has been appointed Chairman of Cellinta.
The company has entered a collaborative research agreement with the University and has an option to license intellectual property developed at the University. The parties have been supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.
It’s an extremely exciting time in the gene therapy field. With Cellinta, we can ensure that our discoveries and technologies can now be rapidly developed into new therapeutics that can be used to treat aggressive cancers with high unmet need.
Cellinta’s approach offers the opportunity to deliver combinations of therapies selectively to cancer stem cells, bypassing the limitations of traditional treatments which often target single genes or redundant signalling pathways.