Two spin out companies originating from BRC research have won prizes at the 10th annual OBN awards which celebrate the UK’s innovative life sciences companies. Both companies are exploring the potential of immunotherapy treatments in treating cancer.

OBN Outstanding Achievement Award - GammaDelta

The Outstanding Achievement award was won by GammaDelta Therapeutics. The award recognises a company who is a true inspiration to the rest of the industry, and one that the judges felt were the most innovative, forward thinking, bold and stood out from their peers.

GammaDelta Therapeutics was founded on Professor Adrian Hayday and Dr Oliver Nussbaumer’s pioneering research into gamma delta T cells, which we supported, and continue to fund.

Gamma delta T cells are a unique type of cell that are part of the immune system’s ‘early warning’ response, which  reside in tissues and can respond rapidly to pathogens. GammaDelta Therapeutics is using innovative technology to isolate large numbers of these cells, in order to develop immunotherapies for cancer and other immune-related diseases.

OBN awards - best startup - IGEM Therapeutics

The Best start-up Biotech Award was won by IGEM. The award is for a UK biotech company that was formed in the last two years and has made a significant impact on the industry, shown successful fundraising or early clinical trial activity.

IGEM Therapeutics was founded by Dr Sophia Karagiannis, Reader in Translational Cancer Immunology at King’s College London and Professor James Spicer, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at King’s College London, and Deputy Director of our Clinical Research Facility.

The company is focused on developing IgE antibody drugs to fight cancer. The team have shown that IgE has specific properties that allow it to target cancer cells. MOv18 IgE is a treatment based on such findings developed at King’s College London. The treatment is in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in ovarian cancer patients which is receiving support from the BRC.

Dr Karagiannis said: “It was a real honour to be recognised with this award. We are a fairly new company but are really proud of what we have achieved so far. We have a treatment already in clinical trials which we hope will improve the outlook for women with ovarian cancer, and we hope to continue this work in finding new treatments for more conditions.”

Kate Blake, our Director of R&D Strategy, said of the awards: We’re so pleased for both of the teams. A key aim of our BRC is to support the type of innovative research that catalyses the founding of new companies like IGEM Therapeutics and GammaDelta Therapeutics. It’s great to see them thriving and we’re looking forward to seeing what they achieve in the future.”