Enara Bio, a biotechnology company leveraging its proprietary T-cell/T-cell receptor (TCR) discovery and Dark Antigen™ platforms to deliver targeted cancer immunotherapies, announces its expansion and move to the new Bellhouse Building at The Oxford Science Park.
Enara’s move from the Oxford BioEscalator to one of the UK's largest biomedical innovation centres is in preparation for its future growth and ambition to transform cancer care. The dedicated research facility will enable the company to accelerate the preclinical development of its lead MR1-targeting T-cell therapy program while continuing to drive the discovery of novel cancer antigens and TCRs for immunotherapy.
Enara Bio formally started its operations at the BioEscalator in early 2019, enabled by seed/Series A funding of $17.5m. This allowed Enara to grow in size from an initial team of just 6 to 27. Complementing the successful progress of its operations at the BioEscalator, Enara established important partnerships with Oxford University and Cardiff University to support and enhance its discovery platform. In June 2020, to reflect its broader emphasis on the discovery and development of novel TCR-based cancer immunotherapies, the company rebranded to Enara Bio from its former name, Ervaxx.
The move, which will see the company occupy over 5,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space in the Bellhouse Building, is a key milestone in Enara Bio’s growth and development. The purpose-built facility will enable Enara Bio to bring together key personnel with world-leading capabilities in bioinformatics, immunopeptidomics, cell therapy process development and immunology to discover and develop novel TCR-based immunotherapies.
Kevin Pojasek, President and CEO of Enara Bio, said:
“The BioEscalator was an ideal incubator for the early stages of Enara Bio. It gave us access to first-class laboratory space in a prime campus location and provided an environment that was key to supporting the rapid growth of the company. Based on our experience, I have no doubt that the BioEscalator will be a vital part of the Oxford early stage life science ecosystem for many years to come. We are now delighted to be expanding and moving into The Oxford Science Park. As pioneers of TCR-directed T-cell immunotherapies, it seems fitting that we will be the first occupier of the Bellhouse Building, the park’s latest, state-of-the-art facility. Our current growth is fuelled by the interest generated by our innovation platform and its transformative potential. The move will enable us to scale up our research and development efforts and hopefully realise this potential as we explore novel targets such as Dark Antigens™ and MR1, which hold great promise in the search for next generation cancer immunotherapies.”
Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, CEO of The Oxford Science Park, added:
“Enara Bio’s exciting work on novel immunotherapies makes it the ideal first occupier of the Bellhouse Building, named after one of the University of Oxford’s earliest entrepreneurs. Professor Brian Bellhouse formed PowderJect in 1993 and based the company at The Oxford Science Park, where Enara Bio can now continue its own pioneering research. We are delighted to welcome the company to the Park and look forward to supporting its development in the coming years.”
Enara Bio (formerly Ervaxx) is a science-led company targeting the T-cell/cancer-cell interface (the “immune synapse”) to develop new targeted cancer immunotherapies designed to treat a broad patient population. Enara Bio is exploring the hidden depths of cancer and T-cell biology to discover and characterize novel immunotherapy targets, such as Dark Antigens™ and MR1-presented ligands. We are pioneering approaches to exploit these targets with TCR-directed T-cell immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccines. To achieve our mission, we are leveraging our differentiated Dark Antigen™ and TCR discovery platforms that integrate bioinformatics, immunopeptidomics, metabolomics and immunology in our Oxford, UK-based research lab. Enara Bio is backed by leading life science investors, including SV Health Investors. We have partnerships with world-class academic institutions, including the Francis Crick Institute, Cardiff University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Oxford, to help drive the leading edge of these new areas of science.
The Oxford Science Park
The Oxford Science Park is owned and managed by Magdalen College, Oxford. Created in 1991, the Park upholds the College’s heritage and provides one of the most influential science & technology environments in the UK. There are approaching 750,000 square feet of workspace accommodation across the Park, which is now home to 2,700 people and more than 130 businesses. These range from start-ups based in the Magdalen Centre innovation hub to major international companies and include Blue Earth Diagnostics, MiroBio, OrganOx, OxSonics Therapeutics, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, OXGENE, ProImmune, Oxford Sciences Innovation, Evox Therapeutics, Vaccitech, Exscientia, Sensyne Health and Intuitive Surgical.