Tessellate BIO, a preclinical stage biotechnology company specializing in innovative Synthetic Lethality approaches, made its official debut from stealth today with an initial €8 million in seed funding. This funding has been provided by two prominent European venture capital firms, BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and Forbion. The company’s flagship program is dedicated to targeting the DNA damage response (DDR) with a particular focus on combating cancers dependent on Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT).
The ultimate goal of Tessellate BIO is to establish itself as a global leader in precision oncology by redefining Synthetic Lethality. While existing Synthetic Lethality strategies have successfully tackled Homology Recombination Deficiency (HRD) with drugs like PARP inhibitors, there remains an expansive, underexplored realm in Synthetic Lethality beyond HRD, which Tessellate BIO is pioneering.
Tessellate BIO boasts an impressive leadership team comprising seasoned entrepreneurs and drug development experts with proven track records. This team includes CEO Andree Blaukat, who formerly served as Senior Vice President and Head of Oncology Research at Merck KGaA; CSO Jürgen Moll, who previously headed the Molecular Oncology Unit at Sanofi; and serial entrepreneur Andrew Lightfoot, who initiated the company as the COO. Notably, Eliot Forster, the former CEO of NASDAQ-listed F-star, has assumed the role of Chair of the Board of Directors.
Andree Blaukat, the CEO of Tessellate BIO, expressed his belief in the potential of applying Synthetic Lethality beyond HRD to address a wide range of cancer types with highly targeted treatments, especially for patients whose needs are not met by current medications.
Founding investor and board director at BGV, Daniela Couto, highlighted the significance of Tessellate BIO’s scientific founders, Prof. Claus Azzalin and Prof. Hilda Pickett, and their work around FANCM and ALT, which sparked excitement and led to the establishment of the company.
Rogier Rooswinkel, board director and General Partner at Forbion, emphasized the importance of building a world-class team to develop innovative precision oncology drugs and the collaborative efforts with BGV in establishing Tessellate BIO from the ground up.
Eliot Forster, an Independent Director and Chair of the Board, recognized the novelty of Tessellate BIO’s approach beyond HRD and its potential to impact patient care significantly, potentially transforming cancer patients into cancer survivors.
Tessellate BIO, headquartered in the Netherlands with research labs at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, UK, is supported by top-tier life science investors BGV and Forbion. The company aims to drive small molecule drug discovery toward novel, validated oncology targets and develop associated companion diagnostics, including a diagnostic to detect ALT positive cancers for the identification of eligible patients. The company also has follow-on programs in tumor suppressor Loss-of-Function (LoF) settings.
Tessellate BIO’s lead program concentrates on complexes crucial for the ALT mechanism, specifically targeting the FANCM protein complex. These efforts are based on discoveries by the company’s co-founders, Prof. Hilda Pickett and Prof. Claus Azzalin.
The venture capital firms involved, BGV and Forbion, are dedicated to supporting early-stage European biotech companies and have extensive experience in the healthcare and life sciences sector.