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Overcome challenges in Cell and Gene Therapies

BY LAUNCHING NEW ADVANCED THERAPY VENTURES IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
ABOUT DSV

Deep Science Ventures is creating a future in which both humans and the planet can thrive.

We use our unique venture creation process to create, spin-out and invest into science companies, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures.

We operate in 4 sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Agriculture and Computation, tackling the challenges defining those areas by taking a first principles approach and partnering with leading institutions.

 

The Challenge

With the recent advances in cell and gene therapies it feels like cures to some of mankind’s most devastating diseases are within reach. CAR-T therapies can now cure some leukemias and the first approved gene therapies are reversing some of the effects of rare diseases. This promise of a potential cure, combined with technological advances, has stimulated a lot of investment in the advanced therapies space. However, major hurdles still need to be overcome for cell and gene therapies to deliver on that promise and become mainstays of medicine in multiple therapeutic areas.

In order to move cell therapies into the mainstream, we need to find more efficient ways to generate cellular therapies. Many existing cell therapies use autologous sources (and therefore can’t be scaled up), and those that use allogeneic sources tend to use expensive reagents and lengthy protocols to differentiate cells, but still end up with a sub-optimal product. The composition of that final cell product is not optimal, both because of residual pluripotent cells and because of cells that don’t contribute to the efficacy of the therapy. The opportunity here is enormous. If we could develop analytical systems to evaluate pluripotent and multipotent cells, and then use that information to optimise differentiation methods, we could generate numerous therapeutic products at scale. This would revolutionise our ability to develop cell therapies across a variety of diseases with high unmet need.

 

Our take on building new ventures in this space

We have teamed up with the CGT Catapult, an independent innovation and technology organisation. This collaboration aims to create powerful approaches that unlock the therapeutic potential across a wide range of scientific areas and enable new therapeutic approaches in multiple medical conditions with high unmet need. You will be applying DSV’s approach to ideation whilst being able to tap into CGT Catapult’s network and expertise, including technical, non-clinical and regulatory advice throughout the process.

 

Join us to build these ventures

You’ll join DSV as the first Founder in the Cell and Gene Therapy opportunity area and work with us for ±12 months to understand the problem space, and develop new concepts for venture creation. At the end of the ±12-month period you will have helped to design and spin-out one or more ventures, and will become a full-time Founder of one of them.

Taking up a Founder role at DSV differs quite significantly from the entrepreneur in residence (EIR) role in other funds or venture studios. Instead of scouting for existing technologies which might overcome a specific challenge, you will start with identifying the areas where there is neglect or repeated failure yet potential solutions exist if considered from a different perspective, mapping the limitations to existing approaches at the specific and macro-level and considering the constraints of the broader ecosystem (capital, expertise, IP, knowledge, competition). You will start to build a company, iteratively determining the optimal solution for the problem, and DSV will guide you through every step of the process providing the same level of support and commitment as you’d expect from a co-founder.

Our offer

We provide a monthly salary (£2,916) to bridge the gap between coming up with a concept and securing pre-seed investment. You and your Co-founder(s) will own the majority stake in the the new venture and the pre-seed investment capital is already secured from DSV. CGT Catapult will bring deep expertise in the space, apply time from their own staff to assist with the venture development process and – subject to investment committee decision – invest in kind in the new venture(s) through providing lab facilities at CGT Catapult.

 

Our impact

We’ve so far built from scratch and invested in 9 new companies in the curative therapeutics space, including the three oncology ventures we built last year in partnership with Cancer Research UK – read our Founder stories here.

 

Who should apply

The ideal candidate would have a PhD in any one of the following areas, and experience in at least two of them:

• Single-cell analytics and computational biology, specifically measuring complexity, genetic interactions and protein-protein interactions, transcriptional and epigenetic networks, and identifying determinants of cell fate;

• Biomedical engineering, and synthetic biology, specifically gene circuits, novel promoters, kill switches, genetic engineering, and methods to control differentiation;

• Stem cells, iPSCs, and cell therapies, including existing differentiation protocols, challenges associated with scale-up, and a deep understanding of what potential therapeutic areas these therapies might be useful for.

 

Needless to say that a strong desire to build a company to make a huge positive impact towards curative therapeutics is a must, you cannot wait to get started!

ABOUT DSV

Deep Science Ventures is creating a future in which both humans and the planet can thrive.

We use our unique venture creation process to create, spin-out and invest into science companies, combining available scientific knowledge and founder-type scientists into high-impact ventures.

We operate in 4 sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Agriculture and Computation, tackling the challenges defining those areas by taking a first principles approach and partnering with leading institutions.

 

The Challenge

With the recent advances in cell and gene therapies it feels like cures to some of mankind’s most devastating diseases are within reach. CAR-T therapies can now cure some leukemias and the first approved gene therapies are reversing some of the effects of rare diseases. This promise of a potential cure, combined with technological advances, has stimulated a lot of investment in the advanced therapies space. However, major hurdles still need to be overcome for cell and gene therapies to deliver on that promise and become mainstays of medicine in multiple therapeutic areas.

In order to move cell therapies into the mainstream, we need to find more efficient ways to generate cellular therapies. Many existing cell therapies use autologous sources (and therefore can’t be scaled up), and those that use allogeneic sources tend to use expensive reagents and lengthy protocols to differentiate cells, but still end up with a sub-optimal product. The composition of that final cell product is not optimal, both because of residual pluripotent cells and because of cells that don’t contribute to the efficacy of the therapy. The opportunity here is enormous. If we could develop analytical systems to evaluate pluripotent and multipotent cells, and then use that information to optimise differentiation methods, we could generate numerous therapeutic products at scale. This would revolutionise our ability to develop cell therapies across a variety of diseases with high unmet need.

 

Our take on building new ventures in this space

We have teamed up with the CGT Catapult, an independent innovation and technology organisation. This collaboration aims to create powerful approaches that unlock the therapeutic potential across a wide range of scientific areas and enable new therapeutic approaches in multiple medical conditions with high unmet need. You will be applying DSV’s approach to ideation whilst being able to tap into CGT Catapult’s network and expertise, including technical, non-clinical and regulatory advice throughout the process.

 

Join us to build these ventures

You’ll join DSV as the first Founder in the Cell and Gene Therapy opportunity area and work with us for ±12 months to understand the problem space, and develop new concepts for venture creation. At the end of the ±12-month period you will have helped to design and spin-out one or more ventures, and will become a full-time Founder of one of them.

Taking up a Founder role at DSV differs quite significantly from the entrepreneur in residence (EIR) role in other funds or venture studios. Instead of scouting for existing technologies which might overcome a specific challenge, you will start with identifying the areas where there is neglect or repeated failure yet potential solutions exist if considered from a different perspective, mapping the limitations to existing approaches at the specific and macro-level and considering the constraints of the broader ecosystem (capital, expertise, IP, knowledge, competition). You will start to build a company, iteratively determining the optimal solution for the problem, and DSV will guide you through every step of the process providing the same level of support and commitment as you’d expect from a co-founder.

Our offer

We provide a monthly salary (£2,916) to bridge the gap between coming up with a concept and securing pre-seed investment. You and your Co-founder(s) will own the majority stake in the the new venture and the pre-seed investment capital is already secured from DSV. CGT Catapult will bring deep expertise in the space, apply time from their own staff to assist with the venture development process and – subject to investment committee decision – invest in kind in the new venture(s) through providing lab facilities at CGT Catapult.

 

Our impact

We’ve so far built from scratch and invested in 9 new companies in the curative therapeutics space, including the three oncology ventures we built last year in partnership with Cancer Research UK – read our Founder stories here.

 

Who should apply

The ideal candidate would have a PhD in any one of the following areas, and experience in at least two of them:

• Single-cell analytics and computational biology, specifically measuring complexity, genetic interactions and protein-protein interactions, transcriptional and epigenetic networks, and identifying determinants of cell fate;

• Biomedical engineering, and synthetic biology, specifically gene circuits, novel promoters, kill switches, genetic engineering, and methods to control differentiation;

• Stem cells, iPSCs, and cell therapies, including existing differentiation protocols, challenges associated with scale-up, and a deep understanding of what potential therapeutic areas these therapies might be useful for.

 

Needless to say that a strong desire to build a company to make a huge positive impact towards curative therapeutics is a must, you cannot wait to get started!

Interviews ongoing for a start date asap

Interviews ongoing for a start date asap