Neobe Therapeutics raises £520k to take down walls to immunotherapy success in cancer patients

Neobe Therapeutics, an early-stage startup, has raised £520k in non-dilutive and pre-seed equity funding to engineer live biotherapeutics to remove barriers to immune infiltration in solid tumours.

While immunotherapies have revolutionised the treatment of cancer, the large majority of patients with solid tumours (up to 85%) still do not respond to them. Neobe was founded by Pedro Correa de Sampaio and Annelise Soulier to address this significant unmet clinical need. Combining the founders’ expertise in immunooncology and bacterial engineering, Neobe is developing a platform for the engineering of programmable live biotherapeutics to disrupt biophysical barriers in the local microenvironment of solid tumours which can prevent immune infiltration. By enabling immune cells to penetrate these immune-excluded tumours, Neobe is predicting that its products could double the number of cancer patients that respond to existing immunotherapies. These therapies include checkpoint inhibitors such as Merck & Co’s Keytruda whose sales are estimated to reach $58.57 billion by 2027 according to Market Data Forecast.

Since its incorporation in early 2021, Neobe has been working with one of its key advisors, Prof. Geoff Baldwin, co-director of the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology, to develop the genetic circuits that underlie its bacterial engineering platform.

The company’s equity round is led by Discovery Park Ventures and Nadav Rosenberg, and will enable initial safety and efficacy studies of Neobe’s initial prototype, targeted at patients with certain types of refractory colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. Efficacy studies will be performed using a patient-derived ex vivo model developed by Dr. Oliver Pearce at the Barts Cancer Institute, as part of an ongoing collaboration. Neobe was also recently awarded a prestigious Biomedical Catalyst grant from Innovate UK, in collaboration with Dr. Pearce, to initiate development of a second product targeting patients with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease.

Pedro Correa de Sampaio, co-founder of Neobe, said “We’re very excited to be initiating preclinical studies on our lead prototype product. Neobe Therapeutics wouldn’t be able to do so without the support of Innovate UK, Discovery Park Ventures, Nadav Rosenberg and our existing investors. We believe that DPV and Nadav will be great additions to the Neobe team, bringing in additional expertise as the company grows and we continue developing our platform to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients. We look forward to continuing to work with our collaborators on our mission to double the number of cancer patients that respond to immunotherapies through engineered live biotherapeutics.”

Mayer Schreiber, Chairman of Discovery Park Ventures said: “For many cancer patients their disease remains untreatable despite significant recent therapeutic advances and so we are very excited by the potential of Neobe’s novel approach to remodelling of the tumour microenvironment. We are impressed by the progress the co-founders Annelise and Pedro have made and are delighted to welcome Neobe Therapeutics to the Discovery Park Ventures portfolio as our fourth investment.”

Nadav Rosenberg, founder and CEO of Saras Capital, said: "We are excited to support Neobe in its mission to make more tumours treatable. We back technical founders who are trying to change the world through entrepreneurship. Pedro and Annelise are exactly that sort of founder. The prospect of making immunotherapies available to more patients is encouraging and promising. We are grateful we can take a small part in this important effort.”

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