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Edinburgh Researcher Gains Funding for Immunotherapy Research into Cancer

An Edinburgh researcher working on new therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers has become one of the first recipients of $20m worth of funding from an industry and academia-led initiative.

Edinburgh Researcher Gains Funding for Immunotherapy Research into Cancer

BeLAB1407 was established in May 2021 by German drug development company Evotec and US pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb to advance drug discovery opportunities at the Universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham, Dundee and Nottingham.

Now, Dr Ashish Dhir of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer has received funding for his immunotherapy research. Dr Dhir’s research team is researching a new immunotherapeutic strategy against cancers including glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, and the “triple negative” form of breast cancer, which commonly has worse outcomes than other forms of the disease.

The funding will be used to progress inhibitors of PNPase – an enzyme that plays a role in how the body’s immune system fights cancer – towards drug development.

Dr Ashish Dhir said: “I’m truly honoured to receive this funding from beLAB1407 that will drive our fundamental research towards drug development, an important leap towards the clinic. As an early career researcher, this is a fantastic endorsement of the research vision and exciting science in my lab.”

Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, helped bring together the commercial and academic partners to establish beLAB1407, and has since worked with the beLAB1407 team and Edinburgh academics to establish suitable projects to benefit from the lab’s support.

Dr George Baxter, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations said: “The drug discovery capability at the University of Edinburgh is truly world class. We are thrilled that this has been recognised and supported as one of the first BeLAB1407 funded projects. This award is an important step towards taking the University’s research from bench to bedside.”

Dr Mark Slack, vice-president of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, added: “I am very pleased to initiate our first project at Edinburgh with Dr Dhir. This is truly exciting science and I am looking forward to working together, within beLAB1407, to move this towards the clinic.”

Seen on European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer: Article Link

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