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Cellinta Ltd.. (9/15/20). "Press Release: Launch of Cellinta and Appointment of Dr Soraya Bekkali as CEO". London.

Organisations Organisation Cellinta Ltd.
  Organisation 2 SV Health Investors LLP
  Group SV Health Investors (Group)
Products Product gene therapy
  Product 2 venture capital
Index term Index term Cellinta–SEVERAL: investment, 202009 official launch after successful seed financing round led by SV Health Investors + incl Cancer Research UK
Persons Person Bekkali, Soraya (Cellinta 202007– CEO before Gyroscope Therapeutics + Lysogene + Orphan Europe + Sanofi)
  Person 2 Ross, Mike (SV Health Investors 202009 Managing Partner)

> Targeting cancer stem cells with highly selective gene therapy

> World-class leadership and scientific team, including Scientific Founder, Prof Steven Pollard

> Supported by SV Health Investors and Cancer Research UK

Cellinta Limited, a new private company focussed on targeting cancer stem cells with highly selective gene therapy, was officially launched today following a successful seed fundraise led by SV Health Investors and joined by Cancer Research UK. The investment will be used to build a pipeline of therapies in various cancer indications.

Cellinta was founded in 2019 and has recently entered a Collaborative Research and Option to License Agreement with the University of Edinburgh (UoE). This secures Cellinta an option to license intellectual property from UoE developed in the laboratory of Prof Steven Pollard, Professor of Stem Cell & Cancer Biology within the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and CRUK Edinburgh Centre at UoE.

Cellinta is backed by a world-class leadership and scientific team, including Prof Steven Pollard as Senior Advisor, and is led by Dr Soraya Bekkali who serves as Chief Executive Officer and Director of its Board. Soraya brings over 20 years’ industry experience with a specific focus in the field of gene therapy.

“I am delighted to be leading such an exciting company,” said Dr. Soraya Bekkali, Chief Executive Officer. “Cellinta’s approach offers the opportunity to deliver combinations of therapies selectively to cancer stem cells, bypassing the limitations of traditional treatments which often target single genes or redundant signalling pathways. Gene therapy is now a clinically validated technology that can be leveraged to overcome some of the drug delivery challenges encountered by past drug candidates, and I look forward to translating the full potential of Cellinta’s platform.

“Cellinta represents a unique opportunity to build a leading company based on exciting and innovative science, with the potential to develop first-in-class therapies,” said Mike Ross, Managing Partner at SV Health Investors and Chairman of Cellinta. “We are delighted with the progress the company has made and extremely pleased to appoint Soraya, who has deep experience in gene therapy across various therapeutic areas, as CEO. We look forward supporting Cellinta in its progress as a pioneer in the field.”

“We’re delighted to have worked with SV Health Investors and world-class Cancer Research UK scientists to help establish Cellinta,” said Phil Masterson, Head of Cancer Research UK’s New Ventures team. “This exciting development has enabled us to leverage seed financing from a leading venture company alongside Cancer Research UK to help establish a company that has the potential to bring real impact to cancer patients starting by those suffering from solid tumours with high unmet need.”

Soraya Bekkali joined Cellinta as CEO in July 2020. She is a board-certified MD graduated from Paris University with 20 years of experience in drug development and business strategy with a focus on gene therapy. She was previously CEO and Director of the Board of Gyroscope Therapeutics, a Syncona backed company based in the UK developing genetically defined therapies for ocular diseases such as dry age-related macular degeneration. During her tenure at Gyroscope she led the organisation towards clinical stage, series B plans and ultimately to the merger with a US based company Orbit Medical commercialising surgical device for subretinal drug delivery. Prior to that she was SVP CMO at Lysogene, a Boston-Paris biotech developing gene therapy for rare CNS disorders where she contributed to the successful listing of the company on the European Stock Exchange Euronext. Her extensive experience encompasses orphan drug development while at Orphan Europe, and broad industry expertise while at Sanofi where she held increasing leadership positions over a 10-year period.

- Ends -

Further information:

JW Communications
Julia Wilson
+44 (0) 7818 430877

About Cellinta Ltd

Cellinta is a biotechnology company focused on developing highly selective gene therapies for cancer. Cellinta’s first-in-class gene therapies harnesses master regulators governing cell identity to deliver therapeutic agents selectively to cancer stem cells. The Company's platform leverages the expertise and recent discoveries across stem cell biology, synthetic biology and cancer genomics of its renowned founding scientist, Professor Steve Pollard from the University of Edinburgh, UK. This builds upon the advancements of viral vectors as a clinically validated and scalable platform to rapidly develop new treatments for patients. For more information, please visit

About SV Health Investors

SV Health Investors is a leading healthcare fund manager committed to investing in tomorrow’s healthcare breakthroughs. SV invests across stages, geographic regions, and sectors, with expertise spanning biotechnology, dementia, healthcare growth, healthcare technology and public equities. With approximately $2.2B in assets under management and a truly transatlantic presence with offices in Boston and London, SV has built an extensive network of talented investment professionals and experienced industry veterans. Since its founding in 1993, SV has invested in more than 175 companies with more than 75 of these having achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs.

Historically, SV managed funds have been diversified across the three sectors. However, the firm’s seventh vintage of core funds is separated into three distinct vehicles; the SV7 Impact Medicine Fund forms and funds early-stage biotechnology companies developing precision medicines, the Growth Fund accelerates growth-stage healthcare services, medical products and digital health companies and the Medtech Convergence Fund specialises in novel medical device and remote-monitoring technologies.

Alongside their core funds, SV manages the Dementia Discovery Fund, focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for dementia, and the International Biotechnology Trust plc, a publicly-traded investment trust.

About Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Cancer Research UK’s specialist Commercial Partnerships Team works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research. The Commercial Partnerships team enables delivery of patient impact through employing commercial models ranging from traditional licensing and collaborations through to spin-out company formation and innovative industry alliances in both drug discovery and non-therapeutic areas. Cancer Research UK’s commercial activity operates through Cancer Research Technology Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK. It is the legal entity which pursues drug discovery research in themed alliance partnerships and delivers varied commercial partnering arrangements.

About Edinburgh Innovations

Edinburgh Innovations is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. EI leads the University’s activities in industry engagement and business development, enterprise support for students and staff, and the identification, management and commercialisation of University intellectual property.

Record changed: 2022-02-04


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