Asgard Therapeutics AB was founded by three Portuguese scientists together with LU Holding, aiming to be the first company in the world to develop a cancer immunotherapy based on direct cell reprogramming. Now they have been admitted to SmiLe Incubator as the next step to move forward on the pre-clinical studies of their lead program TrojanDC.
Researchers Filipe Pereira, Cristiana Pires and Fábio Rosa who are behind the research and are cofounders of the company, accumulate more than 30 years of experience in cell fate reprogramming. They created Asgard Therapeutics with the idea of applying cell reprogramming technologies in cancer immunotherapy for the first time.
Cancer remains one of the major challenges to modern medicine, affecting one-in-three people in Europe. New therapeutic interventions have hugely increased survival and treatment outcomes in many types of cancer, while other types are still as deadly as 30 years ago.
Cancer immunotherapies use the body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Despite significant strides in developing immunotherapies, currently available treatments are effective in only a small proportion of patients and come with high price tags. Thus, there is an urgent need for innovative cost-effective immunotherapies effective in a broader range of cancer patients.
The solution may be Asgard Therapeutics’ TrojanDC. The company´s aim is to provide patients with an off-the-shelf, completely personalized therapy system. Asgard Therapeutics developed this innovative gene therapy that delivers immune-genes into the tumor. TrojanDC reprograms cancer cells to become highly immunogenic, eliciting specific anti-tumor immune responses that lead to tumor elimination.
Asgard Therapeutics has recently provided extensive proof-of-principle data supporting the feasibility of reprogramming mouse and human cancers, including cells directly isolated from cancer patients. The company is now looking for investment to complete preclinical studies, required to get approval to start testing TrojanDC in cancer patients in a few years.
”We are developing a new gene therapy for cancer and will start treating solid tumors by injecting our product Trojan DC directly into the tumors. The smart thing about our approach is that the same gene therapy product can be applied to several different tumors and patients, but the resulting immune response will be tailored to each tumor type. By joining Smile, we will be able to establish our own laboratory and grow our team to support TrojanDC development, says Cristiana Pires,” CEO of Asgard Therapeutics.
”We are very delighted to have Asgard Therapeutics as a member at SmiLe Incubator with its internationally prominent team. The company has an exciting journey ahead of it with a product that can have a huge impact on the treatment of cancer and we are very happy to support them in our incubator program, says Ebba Fåhraeus,” CEO of SmiLe Incubator at Medicon Village in Lund.
On November 18th, the Øresund Institute will release a new report about the situation for Skåne´s life science, where the company is featured
SmiLe Incubator is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe helps entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. There are currently 25 companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni companies, have attracted more than EUR 280 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers business coaching, a large network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as well-equipped laboratories which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Agilent, Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco, Aqilion. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of almost EUR 750 million (Q4 2019). www.smileincubator.life