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Oncolytic adenovirus company, Theolytics, comes out of stealth mode today to announce the appointment of a Chair to the Board of Directors.

Theolytics is pioneering an accelerated Darwinian selection approach that leverages the fact that – by their very nature – the ‘fittest’ viruses in a pool of viruses will out-compete when exposed to a given niche. This survival of the fittest phenomenon enables the careful selection of optimal tumour-killing viruses when a series of targeted selection pressures are engineered to align with the properties desired in a virus. The field to date has focused on the slow, painstaking design of therapeutic viruses, an approach dependent on the human mind ‘designing’ the best possible viruses from thousands of base pairs.

The preclinical company is backed by deep-pocketed seed investors with a long-term mindset. Theolytics’ initial £2.5 million seed investment was from Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the c£600 million funds focused on commercialising ideas originating from Oxford University. Lansdowne Partners, Wellcome Trust, Invesco, Google Ventures and IP Group – as well as sovereign wealth investors – are among the fund’s shareholders.

Dr Powell is an expert virologist, with extensive experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He has led the development of multiple drugs including antiviral compounds against herpes viruses, HIV, Hepatitis C and RSV. Dr Powell is the first Chair to be appointed and joins existing Board members: Charlotte Casebourne, CEO, Theolytics; Dr Margaret Duffy, CSO, Theolytics; Andrew McLean, Head of Life Sciences, Oxford Sciences Innovation; and, Richard Reschen, Principal Licensing and Ventures Manager, Oxford University Innovation.

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