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The enterprise will focus on developing targeted therapies for a specific family of blood cancers.

Professor Adam Mead (left) and Professor Beth Psaila wearing labcoats and surrounded by lab equipment. © MRC WIMM
Professor Adam Mead (left) and Professor Beth Psaila (right) launch their new spin-out company, Alethiomics.

This week sees the launch of Alethiomics, a drug-discovery company co-founded by Professor Adam Mead and Professor Beth Psaila with support from Oxford University Innovation. Alethiomics aims to apply innovations in single-cell multi-omic analysis to the development of novel therapeutics for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

MPNs are a group of chronic blood cancers that begin with mutations occurring in cancer stem cells in the bone marrow. While currently available treatments can relieve symptoms, they do not tackle the underlying disease drivers meaning patients have poor prognosis.

Identifying new drug targets within these mutant cells is critical to developing targeted and effective therapies. The founders have pioneered the use of single-cell multi-omics approaches to better understand the biology of MPNs and to discover novel molecular targets as the basis for drug discovery. They have also developed bespoke platforms for target validation to accelerate successful translation to the clinic. ‘The Alethiomics TARGET-seq platform simultaneously detects DNA mutations, the RNA transcriptome and cell surface proteins from individual cells to provide a holistic understanding of pathologies and more intelligent target identification’ says Professor Mead co-founder of Alethiomics and leader of the Haematopoietic Stem Cell Biology Group at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine.

Below is a video from the Oxford Centre For Haematology, explaining the work developed by Prof. Psaila and Prof. Mead.

The spin-out has received £6m of seed financing from Oxford Science Enterprises. ‘We have been tremendously impressed by the unparalleled expertise in haematological cancer of Prof. Mead and Prof. Psaila, and their passion to bring new therapies to the clinic to help benefit patients.’ Says Dr Claire Brown, Life Sciences Partner at Oxford Science Enterprises. ’We look forward to building on their foundational discoveries and to developing clinical programmes therapies that deliver on the early promise of the technology.’

‘We are really excited to have founded Alethiomics’ says Professor Beth Psaila, Alethiomics co-founder and leader of the Normal and Malignant Megakaryocyte and Platelet Biology Group at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit. ‘Alethiomics…will enable us to translate our breakthrough discoveries in novel target identification into precision medicines to improve the lifespan and quality of life for the patients we care for in the clinic.’

Research underlying this TARGET-seq platform was highlighted in a plenary session delivered at the  American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting on 12th December 2021