Singula Bio provides new hope for cancer with diverse, individualised therapies

Published date:
March 29 2021

Singula Bio, a new seed-stage biotechnology company spun out of Oxford University, aims to become a world leader in developing neoantigen-based individualised cell therapies to use against difficult-to-treat solid malignancies.

The Oxford spinout will draw on a multi-discipline approach for therapies which work with a patient to eliminate cancer

Oxford, UK: Cancer need not be fatal. This is the core mission of Singula Bio – a bold new seed-stage biotechnology company spun out of Oxford University. It aims to become a world leader in developing neoantigen-based individualised cell therapies to use against difficult-to-treat solid malignancies such as ovarian cancer. 

This patient-centred approach will pioneer immunological, medical, surgical and computational technologies to generate selective therapies that eliminate cancer, and the ultimate hope is to achieve long-term, high-quality disease-free survival for cancer patients.

Singula Bio was co-founded by Professors Ahmed Ahmed, Enzo Cerundolo and Enda McVeigh from the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health at Oxford University. It is supported by Oxford University Innovation (OUI), the University’s research commercialisation company, and it has secured generous seed-stage investment from IIU Nominees Limited to pursue its goals. Singula Bio is a landmark for OUI as it is the 250th OUI-supported venture to have passed through the office since it opened its doors in 1987.

Motivated by their many patients (and laboratory funding from charities Ovarian Cancer Action and Cancer Research UK) Profs Ahmed and Cerundolo were inspired to improve an individual’s gruelling experience of cancer and to lessen their suffering of other treatments. Together, they have an enormous knowledge in cancer medicine, cancer immunology, cell and molecular biology, and computational biology which has enabled them to design patient-specific cancer cell therapies that harness the power of the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.

In a tumour, cancer cells carry mutations that appear foreign to a patient’s body and, therefore, their immune system reacts to these mutations. One strong form of an immune reaction is through generating mutation-specific cells called “T cells”.

Prof Ahmed, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, Oxford University, said: “A key feature of cancer cells is the preponderance of genetic aberrations in their DNA. These aberrations can make proteins appear foreign to our body’s immune system which then develops immune cells (T cells) to fight cancer cells. Thanks to years of research and technology development we now know how to identify relevant tumour-specific T cells to grow them outside the body and deliver them back to patients to fight cancer cells.”

Prof McVeigh, motivated by the worthy cause of Singula Bio and bringing his wealth of experience in live-cell therapy from his background in Reproductive Medicine, joined Profs Ahmed and Cerundolo to help them transform the care of cancer patients.

Prof McVeigh, Associate Professor, Oxford University, added: The launch of Singula Bio is a bittersweet milestone for the team, as tragically Professor Cerundolo passed away in January 2020 before he could see this company realised. However, we are determined to keep his legacy going and to realise his vision that “Cancer Need not be Fatal” with Singula Bio.”

He added: “What has excited me about this work is the immediate translational nature of it; the harnessing of the body’s own defence again cancer to bring a potential cure for a disease that otherwise would be fatal.”

Notes to editors

Media enquiries

Gregg Bayes-Brown, Marketing and Communications Manager, Oxford University Innovation

T: +44 (0)1865 280867 M: +44 (0)7392 085972

E: [email protected]

Singula Bio

About the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health

The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health encompasses multi-disciplinary research across the full spectrum of women’s health. Our work has four overarching themes; Cancer, Global Health, Maternal & Fetal Health and Reproductive Medicine & Genetics. We focus on genetic studies, the dissection of molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms underlying normal and aberrant reproductive tissue function, clinical studies in women’s health and pregnancy and growth and development across the first 1000 days of life.

About Oxford University Innovation

Oxford University Innovation is the research and technology commercialisation company of Oxford University. We provide access to technology from Oxford researchers through intellectual property licensing, spinout company formation and material sales, and to academic expertise through Oxford University Consulting.