Scenic Biotech closes financing round

Scenic Biotech BV, a company that looks to tackle diseases by identifying genetic modifiers, has secured a substantial amount in early stage funding.
The start-up company that was spun out of The Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oxford University raised €6.5m in financing, which will be used to develop its ‘genetic off-switch’ for cancer and rare genetic diseases. The round was co-led by Netherlands-based life sciences investor BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and peer INKEF Capital, with the participation of Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university-associated venturing investor.
The underlying technology behind Scenic focuses on disease modifier genes, which until recently have proved problematic to uncover. Thijn Brummelkamp, Professor at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Co-Founder of Scenic Biotech, explained: “With our Cell-Seq technology we can experimentally assess nearly all genes that impinge on any cellular process with high precision and sensitivity. For the first time, we can now systematically identify genes that suppress processes that go awry in disease. These genes can serve as starting points for drug development and discovery to rebalance a variety of diseases. Our first in-house lead program that resulted from the Cell-Seq technology is in the immuno-oncology space and we will add additional programs in other indications, in particular in rare genetic diseases, in the next two years.”

Sebastian Nijman, Associate Professor of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Oxford University and Co-Founder of Scenic Biotech, added: “With this financing from a strong Anglo-Dutch venture capital syndicate, we will build the company to discover and develop a completely new class of therapeutic targets. Just as gene mutations can cause disease, we now know they can also protect us from disease. However, this insight has not yet been used for target discovery as the identification of such disease suppressing genes has been essentially impossible. Our new technology can now unlock this “dark matter” of our genome.”