An Erasmus MC biotech venture spin-off was announced recently in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Pan Cancer T B.V., founded by Prof. Dr. Reno Debets (CSO) and Dr. Dora Hammerl (VP R&D) announced the closing of the first seed investment to commence operations of the startup. Along with Katrien Reynders-Frederix (CEO), the team’s on a mission to develop first-in-class T-cell Receptor (TCR) T-cell therapies against solid tumors such as triple negative breast cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer and glioma, thanks to the infusion of seed capital by Swanbridge Capital and Van Herk Ventures with support from Health-Holland, a grant for public-private partnership with Erasmus MC.
Challenge & Opportunity
While over the past decades a number of innovations in the cancer field have led to improving survival chances for cancer patients. Success comes from breakthroughs such as therapies like Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, for example. However, solid tumors remain refractory (unmanageable) to these breakthrough therapeutic approaches.
Introduce TCR Therapy
Hence, Pan Cancer T introduces new treatment options for hard-to-treat solid cancers via adoptive therapy with T-cells that are genetically engineered with TCRs. TCR therapy exploits the ability of the immune cells, in this case T-cells, to specifically and efficiently recognize and kill malignant cells according to the expression of intracellular target antigens. This underlying approach is key for the success of the company.
The Pan Cancer TBV Approach
The company develops safe and first-in-class TCR T-cell therapies against unique and proprietary targets that are exclusively expressed in multiple tumor type, but absent in healthy tissues. In addition, the company delivers smart treatments that act against tumor micro-environmental hurdles and maximizes the efficacy of TCR T-cells towards solid tumors.
Both Swanbridge Capital and Van Herk Ventures are based in the Netherlands.
About Pan Cancer T
Pan Cancer T was founded in late 2020 and spun-off from Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) to advance first-in-class TCR T-cell therapies for hard-to-treat solid tumors. The Company’s approach includes two differentiating elements. First, it exploits unique targets for T-cells that are exclusively expressed by multiple solid cancers. Second, it applies innovative technologies to select naturally occurring and highly specific TCRs that recognize these targets, as well as immune-modulating treatments to overcome tumor micro-environmental challenges in the targeted cancers. The Company has ongoing R&D programs to develop safe and effective adoptive T cell therapies amenable to large cohorts of patients with triple negative breast cancer, bladder cancer ovarian, lung adenocarcinoma, or glioma.