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Mestag Therapeutics launches with $11m for fibroblast goal

Mestag Therapeutics has been unveiled to the world with the announcement of an $11m seed finance round to develop treatments targetting activated fibroblast populations for inflammatory disease and cancer.

Susan Hill, Mestag Therapeutics’ CEO
Susan Hill, Mestag Therapeutics’ CEO

The breakthrough immuno-oncology company, based at Chesterford Research Park, is developing new medicines by targetting activated fibroblast populations and their role in influencing immune effector cells in disease.

A fibroblast is a type of connective tissue cell – the main connective tissue in the body – found in skin, tendons and other tough tissue. A fibroblast cell is responsible for making the extracellular matrix and collagen which, together, form the structural framework of tissues and play a key role in tissue repair.

With powerful new technologies analysing diseased tissue at single-cell level, discrete fibroblast cell sub-populations – shared across diseases – have been uncovered.

These sub-populations act as “immune sentinels” in perpetuating and progressing disease. Mestag is in the process of building a pipeline of first-in-class therapeutics to interrupt fibroblast-mediated effects on immune cells in inflammatory disease and immuno-oncology.

The company’s approach is inspired by landmark studies conducted by a founding team of five leading clinical experts across the UK and US, who have uncovered new insights into fibroblast sub-populations.

They are:

Professor Michael B Brenner, Brigham professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

Professor David A Tuveson, director of the Cancer Center and president of the American Association for Cancer Research

Professor Chris Buckley, Kennedy professor of translational rheumatology at the University of Oxford

Professor Soumya Raychaudhuri, professor of medicine & biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and Broad Institute

Professor Mark Coles, Kennedy professor of immunology, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, and a fellow at Reuben College, University of Oxford.

The Science Village at Chesterford Research Park, Mestag Therapeutics’ base
The Science Village at Chesterford Research Park, Mestag Therapeutics’ base

“Mestag is founded by an incredible team of world leaders in fibroblast biology,” said Susan Hill, PhD, CEO of Mestag Therapeutics, “complemented by seasoned drug discovery leaders Ray Jupp, CSO – previously CSO of immuno-oncology companies EnaraBio and TRexBio, head of the immunology TA at UCB and head of immunology dscovery at Sanofi Aventis – and James Legg PhD, SVP research and early development, previously SVP research at Crescendo Biologics, as well as Samantha Macro PhD, head of finance, previously head of group finance at Horizon Discovery.

“Their experience will be invaluable as we urgently progress our pipeline of therapeutics towards the clinic.”

The seed finance has been backed by leading healthcare investors including SV Health Investors and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

Houman Ashrafian, managing partner of SV Health Investors and executive chair of Mestag Therapeutics, said: “Our commitment to Mestag is a great example of our strategy to seek to build truly innovative companies anchored by exceptional science and experienced teams.

“The team at SV Health Investors will work in close partnership with the company’s world-leading founders and scientists to develop its business plan and clinical pathway.”

Mestag Therapeutics was founded in 2020.

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