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MWC investigators found new cancer therapy start-up TAMORx

3 June 2022

MWC investigators Dr Joanna Mathy and Prof Rod Dunbar lead new cancer therapy drug research company, TAMORx, based upon MWC supported research and facilities.



Dr Joanna Mathy.

Congratulations to MWC’s Joanna Mathy and Rod Dunbar on the launch of their new company TAMORx.  Joanna carried out her PhD in Rod’s lab in School of Biological Sciences at University of Auckland under an MWC PhD scholarship, and then continued on as a Research Fellow, carrying out the work that led to the founding of TAMORx.  Joanna will now lead the company as it develops a new immunotherapy drug for cancer, supported by over $15M of funding from Australis’a Brandon BioCatalyst (formerly the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund) and Auckland UniServices.

“We discovered a new mechanism that restricts the immune system from fighting cancer,” she says. “We are aiming to free patients’ immune systems from this restriction and increase the immune attack on cancer cells within tumours. To do this we need to develop new drugs that can target this immune control mechanism without affecting other cells in the body. We want to move quickly so we can bring new immunotherapy to patients as soon as possible, and the scale of this new investment will allow us to move all the way to early-stage clinical trials if we’re successful in our pre-clinical development.”  

Rod continues, “We know that immunotherapy is the most promising therapy to achieve long-term survival from cancer in cases where it has spread through the body. Although this kind of therapy can cure some patients with even the most advanced cancer, we need to be able to target many different mechanisms within the immune system to enable more patients to benefit. The new immune control pathway we discovered offers new hope for a broad range of cancer patients.” 

Both acknowledge that “There’s no doubt that MWC has played a big role in enabling the company to be founded, both in supporting Joanna’s PhD and in building the technical capabilities of our lab over the years.  Collaborative links developed through the MWC, such as with Jack Flanagan at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, also enabled us to access technology that might not otherwise have been available.  So TAMORx is another in a long line of start-ups and technology licences that have sprung from the MWC network.



Read the media release on TAMORx here.

Read 1News coverage of TAMORx here.