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.”