Anaveon off to a good start with UZH Life Sciences Fund


The UZH Life Sciences Fund launched last year invests in a second spin-off from the University of Zurich. Anaveon will use the investment to develop new immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.


Anaveon is a spin-off of the University of Zurich, established through joint forces between Onur Boyman, an immunologist, working at the University Hospital Zurich and UZH, and Andreas Katopodis. With Anaveon, the parties aim to translate breakthroughs in research in the field of cytokines into new and innovative immunotherapies for cancer. The new company is portrayed in an article on UZH News.

Immunotherapy covers a wide range of medical methods. It involves harnessing the natural defenses of human immune cells against cancer cells to keep a tumor under control and eliminate it. This systematically strengthens the body’s immune system as cancer cells are constantly removed. Thanks to its effectiveness, the therapy is among the most promising approaches to treating cancer.Impressive results have already been seen in the treatment of melanoma or cancer of the lungs and kidneys.

According to UZH News, the recently inaugurated Anaveon will also take the approach to develop an antibody that boosts the effects of interleukin-2, an innate immune signaling molecule, which modulates immune response and activates a class of T cells against cancer cells.

In parallel to this desired effect, however, interleukin-2 also boosts another class of regulatory T cells that weaken the immune response. The antibody developed by Anaveon can inhibit this undesired effect of interleukin-2 by blocking the activating effect on regulatory T cells. At the same time, Anaveon’s antibody reduces the undesired side effects of interleukin-2 cancer therapy.

Other prodiucts in Anaveon's pipeline include the humanized version of NARA1 adapted for people for use as a cancer drug for treating black skin cancer (melanoma), kidney and lung carcinomaa.

To facilitate the development of their new therapies, the UZH Life Sciences Fund has invested in Anaveon, making it the second startup in the Fund's portfolio, following Cutiss in 2017. The UZH Fund was established to inject capital to help young companies manage the high costs of development in the initial years. According to UZH News, other investors have also provided Anaveon with capital.

More about Anaveon on UZH News.

More news about the UZH Life Sciences Fund in our investor list.

Picture: Stefan Stöcklin UZH