British biotech joins race to find ‘living medicines’ for cancer after cash injection



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Autolus genetically re-engineers human cells to fight cancer Credit: Supphachai

One of Britain’s leading start-ups in the race to develop “living medicines” to treat cancer has raised $80m (£60m) to take its drugs into clinical trials.

Autolus, a biotech spun out of University College London three years ago, has attracted backing from prominent fund manager Neil Woodford and specialist health investors Syncona and Arix.

The cash injection will help Autolus accelerate work on its so-called ‘CAR-T’ therapy for blood cancers, a breakthrough area of medicine that has been hailed as ushering in a new era for cancer medicine.

CAR-T treatments work by genetically re-engineering human cells and reinfusing them back into the body to spot and kill cancer.

The more sophisticated we get at programming cells, the more…