A new immunotherapy company, founded on pioneering work by researchers at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute, has received seed funding from Abingworth, the international investment group dedicated to life sciences. The company has also received support from Cancer Research Technology (CRT), King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute.

GammaDelta Therapeutics Ltd, aims to exploit the unique properties of tissue resident gamma delta γδ T cells for effective immunotherapy of cancer and other serious diseases. This work is founded on pioneering research by Professor Adrian Hayday, FRS, and Dr Oliver Nussbaumer at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute (FCI), into γδ T cells – an unique and conserved population of lymphocytes, discovered following the unexpected cloning of the T cell receptor g chain gene by Professor Hayday and colleagues in 1985. Unlike other lymphocytes, γδ T cells are naturally resident in many human tissues, wherein they contribute substantially to many types of immune responses, including immune-protection against cancer, and to a spectrum of immunopathologies.

Professor Hayday’s research in this area was funded by King’s College London, the Francis Crick Institute, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, the Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council.

GammaDelta Therapeutics is led by a team of experts, including two former Principal Investigators at the CRUK Lincoln’s Inn Research Laboratories (a legacy institute of the FCI), namely Drs Peter Goodfellow, FRS (an advisor to Abingworth, formerly Senior Vice President for Discovery Research at GlaxoSmithKline), and Mike Owen, (formerly Senior Vice President for Biopharmaceuticals Research at GlaxoSmithKline); Tim Haines (Managing Partner of Abingworth); Dr Stephen Parker as Institutes Director; Dr Raj Mehta (CRT) as Interim CEO; and Professor Hayday.

Raj Mehta, Founder and Interim CEO, said: “We are delighted to have attracted the support of Abingworth to the founding and development of GammaDelta Therapeutics and will use the proceeds to help us advance our innovative programmes into the clinic.”

“GammaDelta’s technology is differentiated from many other approaches to immunotherapy that are currently being intensively pursued, and has the potential to make a significant impact on the treatment of cancer,” said Abingworth’s Tim Haines. “We look forward to working with the team to advance the discovery and development of novel therapeutic candidates based on this exciting approach.”

About GammaDelta Therapeutics

Founded in 2016, GammaDelta Therapeutics is developing the potential of gamma delta (γδ) cells to create improved immunotherapy of cancer and other serious diseases. The company plans to exploit unique properties of tissue resident γδ T cells for effective immunotherapy.

About Abingworth

Abingworth is an international investment group dedicated to collaborating with life sciences entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into products that have a dramatic impact on health. With over $1 billion under management, Abingworth invests at all stages of development, from start-ups to publicly traded companies, and across all life science sectors.  Supporting its portfolio companies with a team of 27 at offices in London, Menlo Park (California) and Boston, Abingworth has invested in 142 life science companies, leading to 63 IPOs and 40 mergers and acquisitions. www.abingworth.com