Montis Biosciences Awarded VLAIO Grant to Expand its Pipeline of Novel Immune-Oncology Therapeutics

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Leuven, Belgium, 14 June 2021 – Montis Biosciences, a Belgium-based biotech company focused on the development of novel immuno-oncology therapeutics targeting the interactions between perivascular macrophages and the tumor vasculature, announces the award of a EUR 1 million research grant by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). The grant will be used to accelerate validation and development of Montis Biosciences’ pipeline of novel cancer therapeutics for the treatment of solid tumors.

To execute the project, Montis Biosciences will work closely with the labs of scientific founders Prof. Peter Carmeliet and Prof. Max Mazzone, as well as VIB collaborators Prof. Diether Lambrechts (VIB-KU Leuven Centre for Cancer Biology)​ and Prof. Jo Van Ginderachter (VIB-VUB Centre for Inflammation Research).

“The tumor microenvironment strongly influences patient outcome. We have a unique approach, targeting perivascular macrophage interactions with tumor endothelial cells. Our approach promotes the entry of tumor-fighting immune cells into the tumor microenvironment while transforming existing immune cells to create a robust anti-tumor response. This grant gives us the opportunity to further explore the full potential of our pipeline and select additional promising targets to complement our lead programs, ” said Prof. René Hoet, the company’s CSO.

“We are very pleased to receive the recognition and support from VLAIO,” said Karen Zinkewich-Péotti, CEO of Montis Biosciences.  “This funding enables Montis to further build its expert team and external collaborations, strengthening its leadership position in this novel immuno-oncology field. Importantly, it will help us bring new medicines to patients, faster.”

About Montis Biosciences

Montis Biosciences develops novel immuno-oncology therapeutics targeting the intersection between vascular dysfunction and immune suppression to treat solid tumors. Based on the work of Profs. Peter Carmeliet and Massimiliano Mazzone, Montis Biosciences has created a unique target screening and assay platform to discover novel targets modulating interactions between tumor endothelial cells and perivascular macrophages. Montis Biosciences is backed by leading life science investors Droia Ventures, Polaris Partners, ALSA Ventures and Pfizer Ventures.

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The Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) is an organization of the Flemish government for all entrepreneurs in Flanders. The mission of VLAIO is to stimulate and support innovation and entrepreneurship and to contribute to a favorable business-climate in Flanders. The activities of VLAIO comprise stimulating growth and innovation by financially supporting businesses through subsidies; inspiring entrepreneurship by collaborating with different parties that can guide SMEs with the (pre)start from growth until maturity or take-over; supporting clusters and enhancing environmental factors such as facilitating the development of business areas.

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About VIB

VIB is an excellence-based entrepreneurial research institute in life sciences located in Flanders, Belgium. VIB’s basic research leads to new and innovative insights into normal and pathological life processes. It unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute, firmly based on its close partnership with 5 Flemish universities (Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University). VIB is supported by a solid funding program from the Flemish government. VIB has an excellent track record on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. Since its foundation in 1996, VIB has created 27 start-up companies, now employing over 900 people.

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About KU Leuven

KU Leuven is Europe’s most innovative university (Reuters) and ranks 48th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. As Belgium’s largest university, KU Leuven welcomes nearly 60,000 students from over 140 countries. Its 7,000 researchers are active in a comprehensive range of disciplines. KU Leuven is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and has a strong European and international orientation. University Hospitals Leuven, its network of research hospitals, provides high-quality healthcare and develops new therapeutic and diagnostic insights with an emphasis on translational research.

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