Tessellate BIO Emerges from Stealth
The Next Generation Synthetic Lethality Precision Oncology Company
• The company aims to become a global leader in precision oncology by redefining Synthetic Lethality to treat large, currently unserved patient populations
• Lead program targets Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) through the FANCM protein complex
• Company backed by leading venture firms, BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and Forbion
• World-class leadership team with proven experience as entrepreneurs and deep expertise in drug discovery and precision oncology
Amsterdam, the Netherlands and London, UK – 17 October 2023 - Tessellate BIO, a preclinical stage biotechnology company with a focus on novel Synthetic Lethality approaches, has today emerged from stealth, with an initial €8m in seed funding backed by two leading European venture capital firms, BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and Forbion. Its lead program targets the DNA damage response (DDR) and in particular cancers that depend on Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT).
The company aims to become a global leader in precision oncology by redefining Synthetic Lethality. While Synthetic Lethality approaches targeting Homology Recombination Deficiency (HRD) have been successfully validated in the clinic by PARP inhibitors, there remains a vast and largely unexplored space in Synthetic Lethality beyond HRD that Tessellate BIO is pioneering.
Tessellate BIO has attracted an impressive leadership team of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry-experienced drug hunters with proven track records including: CEO, Andree Blaukat, previously SVP and Head of Oncology Research at Merck KGaA, CSO Jürgen Moll, previously Head of Molecular Oncology Unit at Sanofi; and serial entrepreneur Andrew Lightfoot, as COO, who initially established the company. In addition, Eliot Forster, most recently former CEO of NASDAQ-listed F-star has joined as Chair of the Board of Directors.
Andree Blaukat, CEO, said, “Synthetic Lethality is a proven but only partly explored concept and there are large numbers of patients whose needs are not being met by current medicines. I believe applying Synthetic Lethality beyond HRD has the potential to open a new frontier in precision oncology by addressing a wide range of cancer types with highly tumor-targeted treatments.”
Founding investor, board director and Partner at BGV, Daniela Couto noted, “The know-how and data generated by the scientific founders Prof. Claus Azzalin and Prof. Hilda Pickett around FANCM and ALT got us really excited to kick-start Tessellate BIO. These foundations brought Forbion on board and allowed us to attract an excellent management team. Together, we are creating a very exciting first-in-class pipeline and looking for other like-minded investors to join us.”
Board director and General Partner at Forbion, Rogier Rooswinkel added, “We are delighted to have joined our partners at BGV and to have built together a company from the ground up. Developing innovative precision oncology drugs requires the right scientific and business leadership and at Tessellate BIO we have built a world class team.”
Eliot Forster, Independent Director and Chair of the Board, said, “Novelty in the treatment of cancer is less and less common. Andree and his team are developing a novel approach beyond the already-exploited HRD. This is an enormous opportunity for patients. I have been hugely impressed by the ambition at Tessellate BIO and by the progress already made towards the vision of impacting patient care – turning cancer patients into cancer survivors.”
About Tessellate BIO
Tessellate BIO discovers and develops novel precision oncology medicines with the mission to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. A private preclinical stage biotechnology company, Tessellate BIO is redefining Synthetic Lethality by developing drugs that target unexplored or difficult to drug pathways beyond HRD.
The company’s strategy is to drive small molecule drug discovery towards novel, validated oncology targets and, critically, the parallel development of associated companion diagnostics, including a potentially best-in-class diagnostic to detect ALT positive cancers for identification of treatment-eligible patients. The company also has follow-on programs in tumor suppressor Loss-of-Function (LoF) settings.
Led by an experienced team of drug hunters, the company is building a pipeline of first-in-class medicines based on cutting-edge research sourced from international world-renowned laboratories including Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), Australia and Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM), Portugal. Its lead program targets complexes that are critical for the ALT mechanism including the FANCM protein complex.
Headquartered in the Netherlands and with research labs at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, UK, Tessellate BIO is supported by top-tier life science investors BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and Forbion.
For more information, please visit: www.tessellatebio.com | follow us on LinkedIn
About Tessellate BIO’s lead program - ALT
ALT is a critical mechanism to maintain the integrity of telomeres, which is essential for the unlimited replicative potential of tumor cells that is a key hallmark of cancer. Many cancers with high unmet medical need and poor prognosis rely on ALT for proliferation. For example, several types of sarcomas have over 60% ALT dependency, and substantial subgroups of many solid tumors are ALT dependent. The lead program targets the FANCM protein complex and is based on the discoveries of Tessellate BIO co-founders Prof. Hilda Pickett (CMRI) and Prof. Claus Azzalin (iMM).
BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) is a venture capital company, with a focus on early-stage European biotech companies. The Company has a strong track record of significant financial returns through investing in innovations in healthcare and providing the expertise to build world-class companies. BGV manages over EUR 400 million of funds investing in areas where true scientific innovations, the unmet medical need, and the potential to demonstrate a significant proof of concept all come together. BGV strives to work with founding teams to mature science and build companies. The Company uses its experience to guide progress into clinical trials, ultimately leading to successful drug development and value realization for its investors. BGV applies its expertise in a rigorous process to select the most compelling opportunities with the best prospects for exit.
For more information, please visit: www.biogenerationventures.com
Forbion is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Forbion invests in life sciences companies that are active in the (bio-) pharmaceutical space. Forbion manages €3 billion across multiple fund strategies that cover all stages of (bio-) pharmaceutical drug development. Forbion’s current team consists of over 30 life sciences investment professionals that have built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with investments in over 95 companies across 10 funds. Forbion’s record of sourcing, building and guiding life sciences companies has resulted in many breakthrough therapies and valuable exits. Portfolio company successes include NewAmsterdam Pharma (NASDAQ: NAMS), Gyroscope (acquired by Novartis) and Replimune (NASDAQ: REPL). Besides financial objectives, Forbion selects investments that will positively affect the health and well-being of patients. The firm is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Forbion operates a joint venture with BGV, the manager of seed and early-stage funds, especially focused on Benelux and Germany.
For more information, please visit: www.forbion.com