Cantanhede, Portugal, 5 June 2018 – Lymphact – Lymphocyte Activation Technologies, S.A., (“Lymphact”) a Portugal Ventures and Busy Angels portfolio company, announced today their acquisition by GammaDelta Therapeutics Limited (“GammaDelta Therapeutics”), taking a decisive step in advancing gamma delta T cell therapies into the clinic.
The acquisition significantly enriches GammaDelta Therapeutics’ novel platform based on tissue-derived gamma delta T cells. The complementary technologies have potential in the development of new immunotherapies aimed at treating a broad range of cancers, from haematological malignancies to solid tumours.
“This transaction is a landmark for the Portuguese Biotech sector and I am confident GammaDelta Therapeutics is the right partner to help bringing our DOT-Cells technology to patients. We are taking a decisive step in confirming the scientific innovation of biomedical research conducted in Portugal and also providing a clear signal the Portuguese entrepreneurial world is aware of such potential in the life sciences sector and is actually able to develop it”, says Diogo Remechido Anjos, co-Founder and former Chairman and CEO of Lymphact adding “this would not be possible without an incredible team”.
“Gamma Delta Therapeutics has proprietary technology that is highly complementary to our DOT-Cells; therefore, the potential for synergies is immense. We are also very excited to have access to the exceptional resources and team of GDT to support bringing DOT-Cells to the clinic”, noted Bruno Silva-Santos, the leading scientist behind Lymphact.
Paolo Paoletti, CEO of GammaDelta Therapeutics, said: “We are excited about the potential of Lymphact’s technology and believe that it complements GammaDelta Therapeutic’s T cell expertise and will help advance our mission to deliver new treatments for cancer patients using Vδ1 gamma delta T cells.”
Portugal Ventures’s CEO, Rita Marques, commented that “with this transaction, we are promoting Portugal to the world by exporting national knowledge and technology, with relevant socio-economic impact. We believe that this success story will leverage other cases in the future, and we will witness a multiplying effect of Life and Health Sciences projects that will continue to arouse the interest of international players in technological innovation originated in Portugal.”
For Busy Angels, chairman Luís Mira Amaral added “this acquisition fuels our initial dream of being able to support such an impactful technology, researched and developed in Portugal, to reach cancer patients worldwide.”
Lymphact’s research stemmed from Bruno Silva-Santos’s laboratory at Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM), more specifically from Daniel Correia’s PhD studies that led to the initial discoveries of a new type of tumour-killing lymphocytes, later baptized as DOT-Cells. The two scientists, together with the entrepreneur Diogo R. Anjos, founded Lymphact back in 2013. The company has developed its scientific activities in close collaboration with iMM/ FMUL.
About GammaDelta Therapeutics
GammaDelta Therapeutics is working to develop improved immunotherapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The company’s research and development is focused on exploiting the unique properties of tissue resident gamma delta (γδ) T cells, which are a unique and conserved population of lymphocytes that contribute to many types of immune responses and immunopathology.
GammaDelta Therapeutics was founded in 2016 by Abingworth with support from Cancer Research Technology Limited based on research undertaken by Professor Adrian Hayday and Dr Oliver Nussbaumer at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute. The company’s offices and laboratories are located at the London BioScience Innovation Centre, London. In May 2017, GammaDelta Therapeutics entered into a strategic collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
About Portugal Ventures
Portugal Ventures is a venture capital firm that invests in the seed stage in Portuguese Tech, Life Sciences and Tourism startups. It currently manages 218.4 million euros in assets and over these past 6 years, Portugal Ventures has already invested in 91 new startups more than 119 million euros. Since 2012, the VC manages the first Portuguese fund specialized in investments in Life Sciences, with a portfolio of 20 backed companies in this sector with a total investment amount of 29,2 million euros.
Busy Angels is a Portuguese venture capital investor that invests in the early stages of tech based start-ups both from digital and life sciences industries. Led by senior management with international experience, Busy Angels has currently more than 20 investments in their portfolio and works closely with the founders to support their growth. Lymphact was Busy Angels’ first investment in life sciences, and their success has been the spark for having a larger portion of their portfolio in this area.
About iMM and FMUL
iMM is a leading biomedical research institute, founded in 2002 in close association to FMUL. iMM is strategically located in the largest medical research campus in Portugal, including the biggest medical school (FMUL) and university hospital (Hospital de Santa Maria) in the country. A joint effort resulted in the creation of the Lisbon Medical Academic Centre, to facilitate the translation of cutting-edge research into clinical applications. Bruno Silva-Santos is a Professor at FMUL and leads a research group focused on cancer immunology in iMM.
“It is fantastic to see how top-notch translational research from one of our groups can be transferred to the biotech sector, on the way to clinical application”, says Maria Mota, iMM’s Executive Director, adding “Having reached significant maturity in our research portfolio, translation is now a strategic priority for iMM”.