2021 - Participating Startup Companies
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy is an emerging cancer treatment which has generated a huge amount of hope, given the high remission rates in treating highly refractory lymphoma cases . Cell therapy, of which CAR-T therapy is just one example, offers great promise for treating other conditions such as autoimmune and infectious diseases in the future. The immaturity of this technology is evident, however, in its common failures, laborious manufacturing process, the small proportion of liquid cancers it can currently treat and the high costs of >£280,000 per treatment. Current approaches rely on the expansion of T-cells ex vivo in an artificial setting, which often leads to exhaustion of these cells and renders them less effective in vivo. This has led to a high failure rate for CAR-T therapy (nearing 50% in some trials).
At ImmTune Therapies, we are resolving the issues of labour and time intensive manufacturing protocols, low efficacy products and high costs by designing a novel system which effectively transfects specific immune cells and delivers a CAR construct for natural expansion inside a patient’s body. This in vivo transfection and expansion of the cells will result in massive infrastructure and cost savings (at least a 10-fold) in the treatment process, and will yield more effective, naturally expanded and subsetted CAR-T cells.
ImmTune is headquartered in London, United Kingdom and was incorporated in June 2019. Over the last year, ImmTune’s founding directors Dr Bakul Gupta and Dr George Tetley have secured a pre-seed investment from angel investors, set up collaborations with leading research institutions and are now setting up their lab at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (a hub for UK’s leading cell and gene therapy companies). We have an experienced advisory team including CAR-T and commercial experts who have been active in the advanced therapies sector for over 15 years. We are currently carrying out our preclinical studies, validating our technology in vitro and are raising our seed round to complete our in vivo testing in a murine B-cell cancer model. We are looking to additionally explore other immunotherapy constructs, gene editing technologies and immune cell targets with our potential collaborators to apply our technology in diverse indications within oncology and beyond.