Innovation & Enterprise


UCL spinout Quell Therapeutics raises $84 million Series A funding

16 February 2021

The funding will enable Quell to continue its work developing a therapy for patients who have had a liver transplant. The therapy aims to enable transplant patients to stop taking immunosuppressive medication.

Science lab

On 11 February 2021, Quell Therapeutics announced the closing of an extended Series A financing led by their existing investors Syncona. Syncona have committed an additional $34.7 million and the UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) have committed an additional $1 million. UCLTF is managed by AlbionVC in collaboration with UCL Business (UCLB), the university’s commercialisation company and part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise.

This brings Quell's total Series A financing to approximately $84 million, after the startup initially raised £35 million in May 2019. This funding was also led by Syncona, along with participation from the UCLTF.

Enabling patients to live with transplanted liver

Quell Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing engineered T regulatory (Treg) cell therapies.

It was founded in partnership with six leading experts in Treg cell therapies, cell engineering, solid organ transplantation and autoimmune diseases from UCL, King’s College London and Hannover Medical School.

Tregs are a subset of T cells that provide a regulatory function that harnesses their strong immune-suppressive capacity. Quell Therapeutics’ lead programme is focused on tolerance after liver transplantation. The goal of this therapy is to enable patients to live with their transplanted liver without taking immunosuppressive medication.

Quell is also expanding its portfolio into autoimmune and neuroinflammatory diseases. 

Listed in UK tech media’s top ten

Quell Therapeutics recently featured in a top ten list of UK tech startups by leading tech media publications.

UKTech and TechRegister reviewed the UK’s tech startups they believe have either gained maximum support or raised the maximum funding. Quell Therapeutics is included in their line-up of ones to watch. The tech editors selected 10 young UK startups founded in either 2019 or 2020, that show signs of growth in 2021. 

Barny Cox, Senior Business Manager, UCLB said: “The progress made by Quell in bringing together the knowledge and expertise of leading academic immunologists and building around them a strong and experienced team, together providing the capability for the rapid development of transformative Treg therapies targeting chronic medical conditions, is nothing short of impressive, and an illustration of the effective translation of academic research derived innovations from several institutions towards meaningful patient benefit.”

Iain McGill, Chief Executive Officer, Quell Therapeutics, said: “We’ve made tremendous progress with our lead program in liver transplantation over the past twelve months. We’ve selected our first clinical candidate, QEL-001, and are progressing well through process development. In parallel we have leveraged our cell Modular Engineered Treg platform to build out a valuable pipeline in autoimmune and neuroinflammatory diseases.

“We’re leading the scientific field in bringing these potentially transformative therapies to patients, with our lead program expected to be the first multiply engineered Treg therapy to enter the clinic.”


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