Spinout secures £3.2m to develop novel cancer therapies based on research into myeloid regulatory cells.
Above: Researchers from COST Action Mye-Euniter *
The European Network of Investigators Triggering Exploratory Research on Myeloid Regulatory Cells (Mye-EUNITER) formed in 2014 aimed at establishing a gold standard of common protocols and harmonising guidelines for the analysis and clinical monitoring of myeloid regulatory cells (MRCs). Before this Action, there was no true scientific network covering all myeloid immune cells in the European Research Area.
Cancer is still a leading cause of death worldwide. When infected, the immune system’s function is dysregulated and feeds the disease pathology. As part of this process, instead of fighting disease, immune cells may even suppress beneficial immune responses and increase pathology. Despite their pathophysiological importance, the identity and biology of the so called myeloid regulatory cells (MRCs) is poorly understood.
In this context, Mye-EUNITER has effectively established an interdisciplinary network of clinicians, researchers, and experts from 25 countries. The Action has brought together cell-type and disease-specific expertise to create a much-needed European and transatlantic forum. They aimed at improving the diagnosis and the development of therapeutic options for these diseases in joint efforts with biotechnology industry.
The Action, which ended in 2018, is still very active today demonstrating the importance to share their scientific knowledge, to promote the development of new pre-clinical models for MRC analysis and exchange the know-how with industrial partners.
In July 2020, Macomics Ltd, an immuno-oncology company with world-leading expertise in macrophage biology, secured a £3.2 million seed financing from the transatlantic Epidarex Venture Capital, that invests in early-stage, high-growth life science companies and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
Prof. Sven Brandau, Action Chair said ‘This shows the great potential of myeloid immune cells in the context of currently developed innovative cancer immunotherapies. COST Actions can help to link basic and translational research with early clinical development.’
Macomics, was spun out by two Mye-EUNITER researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Professor Jeffrey Pollard, Director of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, and co-founder Dr Luca Cassetta. Both will use the proceeds of this fundraising round to develop novel, first-in-class immunotherapies designed to modulate macrophages, increasing the body’s immune defence against tumours.
Prof. Jeffrey Pollard, former MC member said, ‘Decades of research into macrophage biology, particularly that of tumour-associated macrophages, have made it very clear to me that this is an area of significant untapped potential for the development of novel cancer therapeutics. The creation of Macomics based on the research of my group at the University of Edinburgh provides the team with an exciting opportunity to develop new effective cancer drugs against macrophage targets, that will bring real clinical benefit to many more patients suffering from cancer.’
*Photo rights – COST Action BM1404 Mye-EUNITER