In December 2021, Apple Tree Partners (ATP), a leader in life sciences venture capital, announced the launch of Adendra Therapeutics Ltd, a spin-out of immunology research by Crick Principal Group Leader Caetano Reis e Sousa and his team. One year on, Caetano explains why working with ATP on early stage discovery research in his lab has been key to the early success of Adendra.
Our founder Caetano Reis e Sousa has published a seminal paper with exciting translational implications: can we release the brakes on cross presentation of antigens released as a result of immunogenic cell death?
- Co-founded with renowned immunologist Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa of the Francis Crick Institute
- First UK-based ATP portfolio company
NEW YORK and LONDON, December 7, 2021—ATP (Apple Tree Partners), a leader in life sciences venture capital, today announced the launch of Adendra Therapeutics Ltd. (“Adendra”), a company that will discover and develop treatments for cancers and autoimmune diseases by applying new insights into regulation of adaptive immune responses by dendritic cells. Adendra is funded with a $53 (£40) million Series A investment from ATP and founded by ATP as a spin-out of breakthrough biology conducted at the Francis Crick Institute in London in the lab of immunologist Caetano Reis e Sousa, D.Phil., whose research on ways in which dendritic cells orchestrate immune responses to cell death has been published in leading scientific journals.
Adendra’s proprietary technology is based on the work of Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa’s Immunobiology Laboratory at The Francis Crick Institute in collaboration with Raj Mehta, Ph.D., an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at ATP who has previously founded and led companies including GammaDelta Therapeutics (recently acquired by Takeda) and Revitope Oncology. Adendra aims to design and develop novel immunotherapies focused on modulation of dendritic and other immune cells to augment immunological control of cancer or curtail T cell-driven autoimmunity.
“We are delighted to partner with Caetano and the Francis Crick Institute to form Adendra, to translate their pioneering work in dendritic cell biology into novel therapeutics,” said Dr. Mehta, ATP EIR and Adendra co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Building on the leading scientific knowledge and expertise coming from Caetano’s lab and applying ATP’s capabilities in therapeutics development and life sciences strategy and operations, Adendra is uniquely positioned to improve the current treatment paradigm in cancer and other diseases.”
“I am delighted to have the backing of ATP to enable the clinical translation of research in the field of innate immune recognition of dead cells and am excited about the prospect of offering meaningful clinical benefit to patients suffering from cancer or autoimmune diseases,” said Professor Reis e Sousa, Adendra co-founder and Senior Group Leader and Assistant Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute.
Adendra will use proceeds from the financing to generate developmental candidates for new molecular and biological therapeutics against solid cancers and T cell-based autoimmune disorders. Beyond these areas of focus, Adendra welcomes approaches from potential research partners interested in accessing the company’s specialized capabilities and tools to address other urgent unmet medical needs.
“Adendra exemplifies ATP’s model of creating and building companies through ongoing partnership with leading scientific experts to develop first- and best-in-class therapies,” said Seth Harrison, M.D., ATP founder and managing partner. “We are pleased to launch ATP’s first UK-based enterprise, we anticipate more transformational ventures emerging from our scientific collaborations in the UK and Europe, and we look forward to establishing Adendra at the forefront of the next leading wave of immune-oncology and immunotherapy companies.”
In conjunction with the Series A, Professor Reis e Sousa and Drs. Mehta and Harrison have joined the Adendra Board of Directors, along with Raj Chopra, M.D., Ph.D., ATP’s Head of Oncology who is also a venture partner at the firm. Donna Hackett, Head of Commercial Translation at the Francis Crick Institute, is a Board Observer.
Founded in 1999, ATP is a leader in life sciences venture capital, with $2.65 billion in committed capital and offices in New York, London, San Francisco, and Cambridge, MA. ATP creates companies starting at various stages, from pre-IP ideas to asset spinouts, investing in them from seed stage through IPO and beyond. The core of ATP’s strategy is to provide flexible capital and access to a world-class team of venture partners and EIRs, to build sustainable, research-driven enterprises that deliver therapeutics to improve human lives. For more information, visit www.appletreepartners.com.
About Adendra Therapeutics
Founded by ATP in 2021 as a spin-out of The Francis Crick Institute, Adendra is an emerging biotechnology company building on new insights into dendritic cell biology to discover and develop new small molecule and biologic medicines for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit www.adendratx.com.
About the Francis Crick Institute
The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical discovery institute dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. Its work is helping to understand why disease develops and to translate discoveries into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.
An independent organisation, its founding partners are the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.
The Crick was formed in 2015, and in 2016 it moved into a brand new state-of-the-art building in central London which brings together 1500 scientists and support staff working collaboratively across disciplines, making it the biggest biomedical research facility under a single roof in Europe. For more information, please visit www.crick.ac.uk.
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