Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Cancer immunotherapy research among beLAB1407’s first projects

IGC PI working to develop new therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers is among the first recipients of funding from the $20 million beLAB1407, recently launched to advance life sciences innovation.

Dr Ashish Dhir

Dr Ashish Dhir of Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine is researching a new immunotherapeutic strategy against cancers such as glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, and the “triple negative” form of breast cancer, which commonly has worse outcomes than other forms of breast cancer.

As one of two awards made by beLAB1407, Dr Dhir’s research team has received funding to progress inhibitors of PNPase towards drug development. PNPase is an enzyme that Dr Dhir has shown to play a role in how the body’s immune system fights cancer.

BeLAB1407 was established in May 2021 by German drug development company Evotec and US pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb to advance drug discovery opportunities at the Universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham, Dundee and Nottingham.

BeLAB1407, whose name references the distance in kilometres from Land’s End to John O’Groats, is the latest of Evotec’s Biomedical Research, Innovation & Development Generation Efficiency (BRIDGE) projects which the company has established across Europe and North America.

I’m truly honoured to receive this funding from beLAB1407 that will drive our fundamental research towards drug development, an important leap towards the clinic. As an early career researcher, this is a fantastic endorsement of the research vision and exciting science in my lab.  The combined strengths of the three Centres that form the IGC provide an excellent scientific environment to accomplish this goal

Dr Ashish Dhir


I am very pleased to initiate our first project at Edinburgh with Dr Dhir. This is truly exciting science and I am looking forward to working together, within beLAB1407, to move this towards the clinic.

Dr Mark SlackVice-President of Academic Partnerships, Evotec



Dr Ashish Dhir's research group website