$30 Million Financing Backing MIT-Developed Amphiphile Platform to Target a Wide-Range of Immunogens to the Lymph Nodes, the “Brain Center’ of the Immune Response
CAMBRIDGE MA., March 27, 2019 (BusinessWire) – Elicio Therapeutics, a next generation immuno-oncology company, engineering therapies for cancer killing immune responses, launched today and announced the appointment of Robert Connelly as CEO. Elicio is developing precision vaccines, immuno stimulators and cellular therapies based on the ground-breaking work of Darrell Irvine, PhD., Professor of Biological Engineering and Materials Sciences and Howard Hughes Investigator at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Elicio was formed to transform the lives of patients by re-engineering the body’s immune response to cancer. By combining expertise in materials science and immunology, Elicio is engineering potent cancer vaccines and immunotherapies for an array of aggressive solid and hematologic cancers. Elicio’s Amphiphile platform enables, for the first time, precise targeting and delivery of immunogens directly to the lymphatic system, substantially enhancing the body’s own system of immune defenses, with the aim to achieve durable cures.
Elicio has demonstrated promising preclinical data in multiple in vivo models of cancer. The company’s lead vaccines targeting pancreatic, colorectal and head and neck cancers will enter initial patient studies in the first half of 2020. These programs are followed by a broad preclinical pipeline of vaccines, adjuvants, cellular therapy vaccines and immuno stimulatory therapeutics.
Elicio Executive Chairman Julian Adams, PhD., commented “The Amphiphile platform developed by Elicio alongside Darrell Irvine and his MIT team has the potential to truly unlock the immune response leading to durable cures for an array of cancers. We are delighted to bring in Robert Connelly, a proven entrepreneur and leader, to build this company as we enter our initial patient trials.”
“I am honored to lead this amazing Elicio team and work closely with Julian and Darrell,” said Robert Connelly, CEO of Elicio. “The great early promise of cancer vaccines has fallen well short and exciting new immunotherapies often fail or are limited due to their inability to target and concentrate in lymph nodes, where the immune response is orchestrated. There is no other platform that can potentially produce highly effective cancer vaccines and adjuvants while also combining with cellular therapies such as CAR-T, TILs, and NK cells to substantially enhance their effectiveness and address their deficiencies.”
Connelly is a prolific entrepreneur and company builder with more than 30 years of experience in the life science industry, nearly 20 of those spent as a CEO building startup and early stage novel therapeutic platform companies. He was the founding CEO and first employee of Domantis, which sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2007 for $454 million, and served as CEO of Pulmatrix (NASDAQ: PULM) and Axcella Health, as well as a Director on numerous biotechnology company Boards. Over the course of his career, Mr. Connelly has raised over $300 million in private equity financing, led numerous partnering transactions including product and platform licensing, government and foundation funding, and M&A transactions, and launched innovative platforms and products across disease areas. Mr. Connelly also serves as a director for Anchiano Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ANCH) and was previously a Venture Partner with Flagship Pioneering. Connelly began his career at Abbott Laboratories.
About Elicio Therapeutics
Elicio, based in Cambridge MA, is committed to transforming the lives of patients and their families by re-engineering the body’s immune response to defeat cancer. By combining expertise in materials science and immunology, Elicio is engineering potent vaccines and immuno-therapies for an array of aggressive cancers. Elicio was founded to expand and apply the ground-breaking Amphiphile technology invented and developed by Darrell Irvine PhD., Professor of Biological Engineering and Materials Sciences and Howard Hughes Investigator at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Elicio’s lead Amphiphile vaccines targeting pancreatic, colorectal and head and neck cancers will begin initial patient studies in the first half of 2020. For more information please visit www.elicio.com.