A biotech company spun out of the University of Edinburgh will utilise research to develop new gene therapies to target different types of cancer.

The company, Cellinta Limited, was born out of research from scientists at the University of Edinburgh, and received funding through investments from SV Health Investors and Cancer Research UK.

The funding will be used to develop a pipeline of ‘highly selective’ gene therapies targeting cancer stem cells in a variety of solid tumour types.

It will draw on research led by Professor Steven Pollard at the University of Edinburgh, which delved into stem cell biology, synthetic biology and cancer genomics.

Cellinta has entered into a collaborative research agreement with the University, and retains the option to license intellectual property developed from research conducted there.

Professor Pollard will join the Cellinta team as scientific founder and a senior adviser, while Dr Soraya Bekkali will take the helm as chief executive officer of the new company.

“I am delighted to be leading such an exciting company,” said Dr Bekkali.

“Cellinta’s approach offers the opportunity to deliver combinations of therapies selectively to cancer stem cells, bypassing the limitations of traditional treatments which often target single genes or redundant signalling pathways,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mike Ross – managing partner at London-based SV Health Investors – has been appointed chairman of Cellinta.

“Cellinta represents a unique opportunity to build a leading company based on exciting and innovative science, with the potential to develop first-in-class therapies,” said Ross.

“We are delighted with the progress the company has made and extremely pleased to appoint Soraya, who has deep experience in gene therapy across various therapeutic areas, as CEO. We look forward supporting Cellinta in its progress as a pioneer in the field,” he added.