Syncona has returned for an oversubscribed round that will allow Quell Therapeutics to fund a clinical trial, advance its pipeline and accelerate platform development.

Quell Therapeutics, a UK-based cell therapy developer co-founded by researchers at King’s College London, University College London and Hannover Medical School, raised $156m in a series B round today backed by investment trust Syncona.

Jeito Capital, Ridgeback Capital Investment, SV Health Investors and Fidelity Management and Research co-led the round, which also attracted British Patient Capital’s Future Fund: Breakthrough programme, Janus Henderson Investors, Monashee Investment Management, Point72 and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

Founded in March 2019, Quell Therapeutics is working on engineered T regulatory (Treg) cell therapies to treat conditions including autoimmune and neuroinflammatory diseases, as well as solid organ transplant rejection.

Treg cells, a subset of T-cells, play a role in regulating or suppressing other cells in the immune system.

The series B capital has been allocated a Libertate phase 1/2 trial of QEL-001, a proposed treatment to prevent organ rejection in liver transplant patients that aims to induce durable immune tolerance and eliminate the need for lifelong immunosuppression.

The money will also allow Quell to expand its pipeline as well as accelerate the development of its autologous multi-modular engineered Treg platform and further develop its allogeneic CAR-Treg platform.

Rachel Mears, partner at Jeito Capital, Jeffrey Long-McGie, managing director at Ridgeback Capital, and Houman Ashrafian, managing partner at SV Health Investors, have all joined Quell’s board of directors in conjunction with the round.

Iain McGill, chief executive of Quell Therapeutics, said: “Quell is at the forefront of a new wave of cell therapy. We are leading the way with our highly-differentiated, multi-modular approach to Treg therapy engineering and production.

“We are proud to have the support of this premiere syndicate of investors as we drive forward to our next stage of growth.

“With this financing, we have the full suite of capabilities – capital, cutting-edge science, and a world-class team – to advance our pipeline and platform to key milestones on our path ultimately to deliver potentially transformative therapies to patients suffering from diseases caused by immune dysregulation.”

Quell previously completed an $83.3m series A round in February 2021, when Syncona led an extension that was also backed by UCL Technology Fund. The first two tranches in 2019 were also both led by Syncona, with commitments from UCL Technology Fund.

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).