Apple Tree Partners has picked its first U.K.-based venture to launch: Adendra Therapeutics, an immunotherapy company focused on dendritic cell biology to treat cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Adendra eked out $53 million in a series A financing to help with its launch. ATP is a life sciences venture capital firm with $2.65 billion in committed capital. Adendra is the latest in the VC firm’s lineup of companies.
Other ATP portfolio companies include Chinook Therapeutics, Marengo Therapeutics and Intergalactic Therapeutics. With Adendra, the firm will enter the U.K. market.
The biotech is a spinout of the Francis Crick Institute in London, co-founded by Caetano Reis e Sousa, Ph.D., an immunologist and Francis Crick Institute professor. Founded in 2015, the institute focuses on biology, health and disease.
Adendra takes Reis e Sousa’s research and aims to develop treatments for solid cancers and T-cell-based autoimmune disease by targeting dendritic cell immune responses. Dendritic cells present antigens to adaptive immune cells such as T cells to carry out immune responses.
At Adendra’s helm is CEO Raj Mehta, who is an entrepreneur in residence at ATP and has previously founded and led companies including GammaDelta Therapeutics, which was recently acquired by Takeda. Prior to GammaDelta, Mehta served in various roles at Cancer Research Technology and MRC Collaborative Centre, where he led the Merck KGaA group.
Donna Hackett, head of commercial translation at the Francis Crick Institute, will join Adendra’s board of directors.