What You Should Know:
– UPMC today announced the launch of Novasenta, a drug discovery and development company seeking novel and effective treatments for cancer. Co-founded in late 2018 by Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., Dario Vignali, Ph.D., and Greg Delgoffe, Ph.D., all of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Pitt, Novasenta is currently focused on T-cell targets and rapidly advancing programs with the goal of launching its first clinical trial by the end of 2023.
– Based on years of cancer research by renowned University of Pittsburgh scientists and a machine-learning-enabled platform that drives the discovery of potential drug targets, Novasenta focuses on the tumor microenvironment – or the ecosystem that surrounds and constantly interacts with the tumor inside the body – to develop immunotherapies.
$20M in Seed Funding Backed by UPMC Enterprises
As part of the launch, UPMC has invested $20M in seed funding to Novasenta through the health system’s innovation and venture capital arm, UPMC Enterprises. Novasenta is one of three local life science startups incubated by UPMC Enterprises in collaboration with Pitt over the last four years and is adding to a growing number of preclinical development programs this partnership is rapidly advancing. Today, the company is celebrating the opening of its new office and laboratory space at The Riviera in Pittsburgh’s South Oakland neighborhood, part of a growing hub of biomedical activity in the city.
Exploiting the interplay between disease, immunity, and metabolism to cure cancer.
Based on years of cancer research by renowned University of Pittsburgh scientists and a machine-learning-enabled platform that drives the discovery of potential drug targets, Novasenta focuses on the tumor microenvironment – or the ecosystem that surrounds and constantly interacts with the tumor inside the body – to develop immunotherapies. Novasenta’s discovery process is patient-centric with a focus on in-depth analysis of high-quality samples from human tumors. The company comprehensively maps the tumor microenvironment and capitalize on the convergence of biology and computation to discover novel, therapeutically relevant targets.
Through our partnership with UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, Novasenta has access to high-quality, tumor tissues from patients with a broad range of cancers, allowing them to focus our discovery on diseases with the highest unmet medical need to maximize the patient impact of its work.
“Novasenta has the ability to analyze the tumor microenvironment of a wide variety of cancers due to our strong research and clinical relationships with Pitt and UPMC,” said Mani Mohindru, Ph.D., Novasenta’s recently hired chief executive officer and a veteran biotechnology leader. “This allows us to capitalize on the critical relationship between disease, immune response and metabolism when assessing the tumor microenvironment for the discovery of novel druggable targets, which will help us develop treatments that benefit patients with cancer.”