Autolus raises $60 million in second funding round
March 8, 2016 – LONDON. Autolus Limited, a biopharmaceutical spin-out from University College London, announced that it has raised £40 million ($60 million) of new capital. Autolus focuses on the development and commercialisation of next-generation engineered T-cell therapies for haematological and solid tumours.
Autolus is founded upon the work of Dr Martin Pule, an academic clinical haematologist at the UCL Cancer Institute and NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre and a thought-leader in T-cell engineering.
T-cells are part of our immune system which normally kill infected cells. T-cells can be taken from a person’s blood sample, grown in the laboratory and “re-programmed” to recognise and kill cancer cells just as they would naturally attack an infection.
Woodford Investment Management and Perceptive Bioscience Investments participated in the new funding, which augments the previous £30 million investment from founding investor Syncona.
The funds will enable Autolus to develop its proprietary pipeline of engineered T-cell products, and to further implement its industry-leading platform of T-cell programming technologies. In parallel with the financing, the Company’s technology platform was enhanced by a licence to additional technologies from UCLB, UCL’s technology transfer company.
In association with the financing, Dr Joe Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Perceptive Bioscience, has joined the board of directors of Autolus.
Dr Christian Itin, Chairman of Autolus, said: “We are pleased to welcome investors of the calibre of Woodford Investment Management and Perceptive Bioscience, which support our goal of building Autolus into a leading engineered T-cell company. The quality of Autolus’ technology and pipeline has allowed the company to raise £70m since its foundation in September 2014, and positions us to take multiple programmes into the clinic. We have also expanded the scope of our licence with UCLB to bring additional inventions from founder Dr Martin Pule’s group into the company adding to the suite of Autolus’ T-cell programming technologies.”
Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCLB, commented: “We are delighted to support this significant milestone in Autolus’ development. The licence and the commitment from Syncona, Woodford and Perceptive Bioscience provide a solid foundation to translate the licensed UCL technologies into healthcare benefits for patients.”