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EEDA Supports Sentinel Oncology's fight against cancer

Sentinel Oncology and its academic and investment partners at the University of Cambridge have received a financial boost from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Following successful completion of the EEDA funded R&D project, Sentinel Oncology has gained approval for a Development Grant Project award of up to £193,000 from the Agency.

Sentinel has built a pipeline of small molecules designed to target hallmarks of solid tumours. In particular Sentinel is developing small molecule inhibitors that are activated selectively or by the low oxygen environment found in all solid tumours. The company’s vision is to develop drugs in oncology that are void of the systemic toxicities often associated with chemotherapeutics.

Sentinel has made significant progress in validating their targeted small molecule approach for cancer treatment. The company has strong pipelines and a lead molecule that will shortly enter in-vivo studies. It is expected to be the first candidate to partner with a pharmaceutical major.

Sentinel has also established proprietary technology for removing unwanted side effects in lead molecules from which the company anticipates generating early revenue streams.

The company was founded in 2005 by medicinal chemists Bob Boyle and Stuart Travers, together with businessman Gavin Simpson. In 2005 Sentinel Oncology received a £74,000 Research Grant Project award from EEDA followed by investment of £100K from the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds (CESF). Early in 2007 the company completed a further funding round of £450,000 from a consortium comprising CESF, Medeor Ltd. and a group of city businessmen.

Working with Sentinel is Professor Venkitaraman from the University Department of Oncology and the Medical Research Council’s Cancer Cell Unit, whose expertise in cancer cell biology has been crucial in helping to select potentially successful drugs and new biological targets.

Professor Venkitaraman, who chairs the company’s Scientific Advisory Board, said, ‘This award will enable Sentinel to progress the development of its novel chemical technologies, and drive drug candidates further towards the pre-clinical stage. I am delighted that EEDA has chosen to continue supporting the Sentinel approach to cancer treatment.’

Sentinel’s co-founder Gavin Simpson said "I am delighted with the continued financial support from EEDA and the significant advances Sentinel has made towards developing a robust pipeline of small molecules targeting cancer"

Mark Aspinall, head of innovation at EEDA, said "Sentinel Oncology's work in developing this approach to cancer treatment is precisely the type of initiative the 'grant for research and development' funding aims to support. The development on this project should have a beneficial impact not only for the company, but for the bio-technology sector at large and the East of England region as a whole. We applaud their vision and determination to drive their process forward and wish them every success."

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