Cancer Research UK spinout Achilles Therapeutics has closed its Initial Public Offering in the US bagging gross proceeds of $175.5 million.
Achilles is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology biopharma developing precision T cell therapies to treat multiple types of solid tumours.
The company was set up in 2016 by Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships team alongside Syncona, with the support of UCL Business and The Francis Crick Institute, on the back of research carried out by the charity’s chief clinician, Professor Charles Swanton of the UCL Cancer Institute and Francis Crick Institute, and Professors Sergio Quezada and Karl Peggs of the UCL Cancer Institute.
Achilles’ approach centres on targeting clonal tumour neoantigens, mutations formed early in the development of a cancer that give rise to antigens expressed on every single cancer cell that are absent from healthy tissue, thus presenting a new target for treatment with the potential to cut the risk of new mutations and resistance.
Since every cancer has a unique set of neoantigens, Achilles’ approach is based on generating a personalised T cell product for each patient to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissue.
The company has two ongoing Phase I/IIa trials, including a study of a clonal neoantigen T cell therapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, which dosed its first patient in June last year.
Tony Hickson, chief business officer for Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted to see Achilles Therapeutics reach this significant milestone in its development. Together with our world-class Cancer Research UK scientists, we formed Achilles with Syncona to drive a revolution in cancer treatment using clonal neoantigens to develop personalised T cell therapies.
“Achilles highlights what can be achieved by us working in partnership with venture capital to form spinout companies that have the potential to bring real impact to cancer patients.”