Company Name: Cambridge Cancer Genomics (CCG.ai)
Founders: Drs. John Cassidy, Harry Clifford, Nirmesh Patel, Evaline Tsai
Cohort: Develop 2017 SS
What is your background? How did you found/find your team?
We founded the company about 3 years ago after meeting whilst doing PhDs and post-docs at the University of Cambridge and at Kings College London. Our backgrounds are in cancer research and bioinformatics: together we knew we could combine our experience to think of ways to take high tech technologies out of the research environment and into the clinic. Specifically, we knew that precision oncology — the idea that you can identify drivers in a tumour and design therapies specifically for these different drivers and different molecular signatures of tumor — was something that was struggling to get into the mainstream, and we had the skills to do that!
To form CCG.ai, we went through Y Combinator in Summer 2017, raised our first funding, and then came back to Cambridge to build out a team and prove our technologies.
What is your business about?
At CCG.ai, we care that each patient has the right drug, at the right time, to beat their cancer. We want to understand what the molecular drivers of the tumour are, how they and the tumour change over time, and how these things affect therapeutic decisions. The specific market we are addressing is that of treatment failure, responsible for around half of worldwide cancer care costs.
What impact did Panacea Stars have on your company’s development?
We participated in the Hilary 2017 cohort. As far as competitions go, we found biostars particularly useful in formalising our transition from scientists to entrepreneurs.
What stage is your company at right now? Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We are beta testing our genomic analysis software with select clients in the EU and US and running a number of worldwide clinical studies for our liquid biopsy technology. In 5 years, we want the company to be in a position where we have the tools to enable precision oncology both in space and in time. We want to understand how and when to give the right drug to the right patient, and we want to be able to use that information and those technologies to find under-served patient populations and repurpose or develop drugs to best serve those populations. Ultimately we’d like to see a future where each patient has the right drug at the right time to beat their cancer.
Any significant achievements to-date?
Being named on to Forbes 30 under 30 list was a really significant achievement for us. Another is being named onto the Fierce 50, a list of 50 high growth companies around the Cambridge ecosystem.
Any advice for the selected teams on how they should make full use of Panacea Star’s offering?
Network as much as possible. If you’re the smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong room.