UPMC Enterprises has invested in a biotech startup company pursuing new approaches to boosting the effectiveness of the patient’s own immune system against cancer.
Werewolf Therapeutics recently closed a $56 million Series A funding round led by MPM Capital and Longwood Fund, with participation from UPMC Enterprises and other investors.
“Immunotherapy has emerged as a foundational treatment option in oncology, but the range of patients benefiting from these medicines is still small and the repertoire of more potent immunotherapies is limited by significant toxicities,” said Daniel J. Hicklin, PhD, President and CEO of Werewolf. “Werewolf Therapeutics is designing powerful immunotherapies to more precisely and effectively stimulate anti-tumor immune responses to improve safety, efficacy and durability. Through our PREDATORTM technology platform, we are creating a new class of transformative immuno-oncology therapeutics to deliver clinically meaningful impact for patients.”
Werewolf is developing novel immuno-stimulatory therapeutics designed to act selectively within the tumor microenvironment to enhance the body’s immune response to cancer. The company will use the funding to invest in research, talent acquisition, and advancement of its platform and therapeutic programs to early clinical development.
“We see significant value in UPMC Enterprises’ scientific and clinical expertise and are excited to bring them on as an investor to help us develop new medicines for cancer patients,” said Dr. Hicklin.
“We saw this investment as an opportunity to complement our internal research and investment efforts around immunotherapies with an innovative approach to clinically validated targets by a highly successful management team,” said Judson Englert, MD, PhD, Senior Director in Translational Sciences at UPMC Enterprises, who is an observer on Werewolf’s board of directors.
In addition to the outstanding management team, Werewolf has brought together world experts in immunotherapy to comprise its scientific advisory board, including Dario A. Vignali, PhD, Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Vignali is also an investigator in the UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC).
Werewolf becomes the sixth investment by the Translational Sciences team at UPMC Enterprises since the team’s formation in 2017. The initial focus was on incubating and founding companies based on research from the University of Pittsburgh, which will continue. In addition, the team will look to partner with investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs from around the country to ensure that the most innovative science is brought forward to address the greatest clinical needs.
Learn more about Translational Sciences at UPMC Enterprises.
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