One to Watch series: new cancer therapy start-up TriMod Therapeutics (video)

13 Aug 2012

Jeremy Skillington, co-founder, TriMod Therapeutics

Last week we launched our One to Watch series whereby we interview promising Irish start-ups from the technology and scientific spaces that are starting to get noticed for their innovations. Our second featured start-up is TriMod Therapeutics, a venture that is on a mission to develop a novel new cancer therapy technology.

The new start-up, which is based at Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus on Pearse Street in Dublin City, was co-founded in 2011 by Kingston Mills, a Trinity College Dublin (TCD) professor of experimental immunology and Dr Jeremy Skillington, a scientist-turned-entrepreneur.

The duo are focusing on manipulating a cancer patient’s immune response to target and destroy an existing tumour via their technology. According to Skillington, the technology is based on Mills’ academic work, which concentrates on understanding how a tumour hides or ‘cloaks’ itself from the immune system.

TriMod Therapeutics is aiming to bring its technology into clinical testing within the next two years.

As well as being globally recognised in the immunology field, Mills was also co-founder of the Irish biotech company Opsona Therapeutics.

Meanwhile, Skillington trained as a biochemist at NUI Galway. After carrying out research at the University of California, San Francisco, he joined the business development group of Genentech, a biotechnology company based in California. He then returned to Ireland to lead business development at Opsona.

As for TriMod Therapeutics, it has established collaborations with biotech and pharma companies to optimise the therapeutic platform.

The start-up will be seeking Series A financing of €7.5m in 2013 to fund the further growth of the company and bring its cancer therapy into clinical testing.

TriMod Therapeutics closed a seed-capital round of €750,000 in late 2011, which it is using to fund its pre-clinical programme. The lead investor in this round was Oyster Capital, while Enterprise Ireland also came on board.

According to Shillington, TriMod Therapeutics, via its technology, will be aiming to selectively activate the immune system so as to target many different tumour types in cancer patients down the line.

Watch our video interview with Jeremy Skillington, co-founder and CEO, TriMod Therapeutics, here:

HBAN is an all-island umbrella organisation which promotes business angel investment, and creates business angel syndicates, to enable investment in innovative companies like TriMod Therapeutics. “We are in the process of establishing two more syndicates in the mobile and med-tech sectors, and we’d encourage anyone interested in becoming a business angel in one of these new syndicates to get in touch,” says Michael Culligan, national director at HBAN. For further information, go to the HBAN website.

The One to Watch series is made possible through the support of NDRC, HBAN and Enterprise Ireland

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic