Grey Wolf Therapeutics completes £10 million ($14 million) series A financing with Andera Partners and Canaan to fund development of immuno-oncology therapies to increase tumour visibility
- Grey Wolf targets ERAP antigen presentation pathways with the aim of ‘illuminating’ non-responsive tumours for attack and destruction by the immune system
Oxford, UK – 11 February 2019 – Grey Wolf Therapeutics, a drug discovery biotechnology company focused on immuno-oncology, today announces it has completed a £10 million ($14 million) series A financing round with leading international healthcare investors Andera Partners and Canaan.
Grey Wolf’s novel approach is aimed at directly altering tumour cells, illuminating them for attack and destruction by the immune system. The goal is to exploit this increased tumour visibility in monotherapy and to extend the therapeutic benefit of already approved immunotherapies to many more cancers.
Grey Wolf is developing small molecule modulators of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidases (ERAPs), key proteins in the antigen presentation pathway, to change the neoantigen repertoire in tumours and thereby increase the number and range of neoantigens presented on tumour cells available to engage an immune response.
This unique small molecule immuno-oncology approach builds on the exciting recent advances in cancer immunotherapies that address a key limiting factor for approved treatments, while avoiding the complex and costly personalisation required for other approaches such as neoantigen vaccines.
Grey Wolf has programs targeting the two homologues of ERAP, ERAP1 and ERAP2, aimed at developing potent and selective modulators, with the lead program being against ERAP1.
Grey Wolf was co-founded by Peter Joyce, former Project Leader at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Tom McCarthy, former President and CEO of Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, and comprises a team of world-leading experts in immuno-oncology, antigen presentation and drug discovery. It is working with the University of Oxford, University of Southampton and has a strategic partnership with Sygnature Discovery, a leading independent provider of drug discovery resources and expertise. Sygnature is also an investor in the Company.
Peter Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Grey Wolf Therapeutics, said: “The recent breakthroughs in immunotherapy have fundamentally changed the treatment landscape in oncology, but the fact remains that current approaches only target the minority of tumours that are visible to the immune system, whilst the vast majority of cancers do not respond. There is strong validation for targeting ERAPs to increase tumour visibility and with these funds we are now positioned to build on our existing work and collaborations to deliver a clinical candidate in the coming two to three years.”
Tom McCarthy, Executive Chairman of Grey Wolf Therapeutics, said: “Attracting investors of the calibre of Andera and Canaan is a strong validation of the potential of our approach to broaden the effectiveness of immunotherapy. We believe we have a truly novel approach in targeting tumours themselves, rather than direct regulation of the immune system, and I am excited by the opportunity to work with our investors and talented team on the next steps of Grey Wolf’s development.”
Thierry Hercend, Venture Partner at Andera Partners, said: “Grey Wolf has identified a highly innovative approach to immuno-oncology and, in Peter and Tom, has founders with very strong scientific and entrepreneurial credentials. With the support of Sygnature, they achieved a significant amount with their seed funding and demonstrated a scientifically rigorous and nimble approach to drug development which we value. I’m confident that with this series A financing, Grey Wolf will deliver on the full potential of ERAP modulation.”
Brent Ahrens, General Partner at Canaan, said: “Grey Wolf marks Canaan’s first investment in the UK biotechnology sector, and we are excited by the Company’s science and its potential to help the huge numbers of patients yet to receive any benefit from current oncology treatment options.”
Raphaël Wisniewski, Partner at Andera, Thierry Hercend, Venture Partner at Andera and Brent Ahrens, General Partner at Canaan have joined Grey Wolf’s Board of Directors.
For more information about Grey Wolf Therapeutics please contact:
Grey Wolf Therapeutics
Peter Joyce, CEO
+44 (0) 01865 292 038
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner, Sukaina Virji, Melissa Gardiner
+44 (0)20 3709 5700
About Grey Wolf Therapeutics
Grey Wolf Therapeutics is a UK-based drug discovery biotechnology company focused on immuno-oncology. Rather than targeting the immune system, Grey Wolf’s approach is to directly alter the tumour cells, illuminating them for attack and destruction by the immune system. The Company is targeting ERAP proteases, key proteins in the antigen presentation pathway, to drive modulation of the neoantigen repertoire on tumour cells, thus increasing tumour visibility and extending the reach of immunotherapy in oncology.
Grey Wolf was founded by experienced industry professionals Peter Joyce (CEO), formerly of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Tom McCarthy (Executive Chairman), former President and CEO of Spinifex Pharmaceuticals. It has raised a £10 million Series A from blue chip EU and US investors, Andera Partners and Canaan Partners and is working with leading academic and commercial drug discovery partners to deliver a clinical candidate against ERAP1. Grey Wolf is headquartered in Oxford, UK. For more information, please visit www.greywolftherapeutics.com.
About Andera Partners
Andera Partners (previously Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners) is a leading investor in minority investments into privately owned companies. The Management Company employs 57 people and has more than €2.3 billion under management. Its Life Sciences team of 12 professionals brings together deep experience both in the Life Science industry and in private equity and venture capital. The team has raised more than €800 million through its BioDiscovery franchise and is currently investing out of its €345 million BioDiscovery 5 fund. For more information, please visit www.anderapartners.com
Canaan is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas. With $5B under management, a diversified fund and hundreds of exits to date, we partner with entrepreneurs building the next generation of consumer, fintech, frontier tech, biotech and digital health companies that will transform how we live, work and thrive. To learn more about our people and our portfolio, please visit canaan.com