Astellas and We are Pioneer Group (WAPG) Award Future Innovator Prize to Innovative Life Science Startup ImmTune Therapies
Astellas and We are Pioneer Group (WAPG) Award Future Innovator Prize to
Innovative Life Science Startup ImmTune Therapies
Newly launched Future Innovator Prize announces winner of inaugural competition
Winners will receive one year’s free state-of-the-art space at a We are Pioneer Group
location and access to Astellas’ R&D capabilities, business leaders, mentors and global
Cambridge, UK. 16 March 2022 – Astellas Venture Management LLC (AVM), a wholly-owned
venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji
Yasukawa, Ph.D., “Astellas”), and We are Pioneer Group (WAPG), the UK’s largest ecosystem
provider for science and innovation businesses, announced ImmTune Therapies as the winner of
the “2021 Astellas Future Innovator Prize at WAPG”.
The UK’s first “Future Innovator Prize” inaugural competition and award supports entrepreneurial
scientists and emerging biotechnology start-ups in accelerating early drug discovery and
innovation to create meaningful value for patients.
The coveted prize gives these emerging companies a leg up in their development process by
underwriting costs of a shared lab facility at one of WAPG’s 10 science parks and its supportive
environment for one year, as well as giving access to Astellas’ R&D capabilities, business
leaders, mentors and global network of partner academic institutes and biotechnology
Entries were received across a broad range of disease areas and exciting innovative
technologies. ImmTune Therapies was selected for its interesting approach in immuno-oncology,
cell and gene therapies, and regenerative medicine. In addition, it was chosen for its well-defined
business plan, objectives and differentiated approach in terms of delivery and targeting.
Bakul Gupta, Ph.D., CEO and Co-founder of ImmTune Therapies, said: “We are delighted to
receive this prestigious inaugural prize. The judging process involved a rigorous evaluation by
Astellas’ scientists and senior leaders, so it was pleasing to hear the positive feedback and
validation of our science and the company concept after such a thorough process.
“The prize will enable us to accelerate the development of our technology and expand rapidly by
having access to a state-of-the-art lab and an experienced support network.”
Kazunori Maruyama, Ph.D, President of Astellas Venture Management, said:” We are
excited to announce ImmTune Therapies has been chosen as the winner of the Future Innovator
Prize. We acknowledged their platform that could be applicable to multiple therapeutic fields of
Astellas and we are looking forward to helping them realize their delivery technology and provide
value for patients.
“WAPG knows what it takes to be innovative and entrepreneurial,” added Ayokunmi
Ajetunmobi, Ph.D, Venture Development Manager at We are Pioneer Group. “As operators of the largest innovation ecosystem for science and technology industries in Europe, we know how important it is to nurture and develop young businesses and keep them focused. “Astellas has already proven to be an excellent partner and mentor to many of the WAPG startups. Their decision to support our Future Innovator Prize demonstrates their strong commitment to the UK and plays an essential role in helping us deliver an innovation-led portfolio.”