Grey Wolf raises £10m for tumour ‘illumination’ tech

Immuno-oncology biotech Grey Wolf Therapeutics has raised £10 million in series A financing to develop therapies that increase tumour visibility.

The company’s approach is aimed at directly altering tumour cells, rather than direct regulation of the immune system.

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 ‘illuminates’ the tumour 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.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Grey Wolf has programmes targeting the two homologues of ERAP, ERAP1 and ERAP2, aimed at developing potent and selective modulators, with the lead programme being against ERAP1.

“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,” said Peter Joyce, Grey Wolf’s co-founder and CEO. “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.”

The financing was provided by healthcare investors Andera Partners – who last year invested in DNA Damage Response company Artios – and Canaan. 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.

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