Scenic Biotech

13 June / 2017

Scenic Biotech’s ‘genetic off-switch’ for disease secures major investment to accelerate development

Scenic Biotech, an international collaboration between Oxford University and Netherlands Cancer Institute, aims to unlock genetic potential in tackling cancer and other diseases with new funding.

Key Themes:

  • Scenic is utilising cutting edge technology to unlock the power of genetics to overcome cancer and other diseases
  • This is a global company coming out of two widely respected institutions with €6.5m in Series A firepower backed by an international consortium of investors.
  • Scenic’s revolutionary genomics technology recently showcased in Nature.

Oxford, UK & Amsterdam, the Netherlands – 5 June 2017

Scenic Biotech BV, an international collaboration from Oxford University and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) that looks to tackle diseases on the genetic level, has secured a substantial amount in early stage funding to advance its immunotherapy technologies.

The therapeutics spinout company raised €6.5m in Series A financing, which will be used to develop its ‘genetic off-switch’ for cancer and rare genetic diseases. The round was co-led by Netherlands-based life sciences investor BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and peer INKEF Capital, with the participation of Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing investor for Oxford University.

The underlying technology behind Scenic focuses on disease suppressing genes, which until recently have proved problematic to uncover. As highlighted in a recent article in Nature, Genetic wiring maps of single-cell protein states reveal an off-switch for GPCR signalling, Scenic’s propriety technology platform, Cell-Seq, changes the game.

Thijn Brummelkamp, Professor at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Co-Founder of Scenic Biotech, explained:

“With this technology we can experimentally assess nearly all genes that impinge on any cellular process with high precision and sensitivity. For the first time, we can now systematically identify genes that suppress processes that go awry in disease. These genes can serve as starting points for drug development and discovery to rebalance a variety of diseases. Our first in-house lead program that resulted from the Cell-Seq technology is in the immuno-oncology space and we will add additional programs in other indications, in particular in rare genetic diseases, in the next two years.”

Sebastian Nijman, Associate Professor of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Oxford University and Co-Founder of Scenic Biotech, added:

“With this financing from a strong Anglo-Dutch venture capital syndicate, we will build the company to discover and develop a completely new class of therapeutic targets. Just as gene mutations can cause disease, we now know they can also protect us from disease. However, this insight has not yet been used for target discovery as the identification of such disease suppressing genes has been essentially impossible. Our new technology can now unlock this “dark matter” of our genome.”



For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Sebastian Nijman, Associate Professor of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford University

Thijn Brummelkamp, Professor, Netherlands Cancer Institute

Gregg Bayes-Brown, Marketing and Communications Manager, Oxford University Innovation
T: +44 (0)1865 280867 | E:


Publication reference

Markus Brockmann, Vincent A. Blomen, Joppe Nieuwenhuis, Elmer Stickel,

Matthijs Raaben, Onno B. Bleijerveld, A. F. Maarten Altelaar, Lucas T. Jae and Thijn R. Brummelkamp. Genetic wiring maps of single cell protein states reveal an off-switch for GPCR signaling. Nature June 1, 2017


About Scenic Biotech

Scenic Biotech BV is a spinout company of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and Oxford University, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is Scenic Biotech’s mission to harness genetic modifiers to combat disease. The company was founded by Prof Thijn Brummelkamp and Prof Sebastian Nijman.


About BGV

BGV is based in Naarden, The Netherlands and manages funds that are actively investing in the next generation of successful Biotech companies in Europe active in healthcare, therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics. The team of BGV has a very successful track record and a broad experience in the life sciences sector. Our involvement goes beyond only a financial investment. BGVs strategy is to invest early and to generate value by working very closely with its portfolio companies and providing active, hands-on support. BGV is currently investing out of its new third fund BGV III.



INKEF Capital is an Amsterdam-based venture capital firm that focuses on long-term collaboration and active support of innovative technology companies. INKEF Capital was founded in 2010 by Dutch pension fund ABP and with €500 million under management it is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Netherlands. INKEF focuses on investment opportunities in Healthcare, Technology and IT/NewMedia and prefers to participate from series A round financing onwards.


About Oxford Sciences Innovation

Oxford Sciences Innovation plc is the world’s largest IP investment company dedicated to a single university. Founded in May 2015, we help turn Oxford University’s world-leading scientific discovery into innovative science and technology companies that can have a positive impact on society. We provide capital and expertise to businesses driven by intellectual property developed in Oxford’s Mathematical, Physical, Life Sciences Division and Medical Sciences Divisions. We are guided and powered by some of the world’s leading organisations, including Invesco, Woodford Investment Management, the Wellcome Trust and Lansdowne Partners.


About Oxford University Innovation

Oxford University Innovation supports innovation activities across all University Divisions, managing technology transfer and consulting activities, and providing an innovation management service to clients around the world. We provide access to technology from Oxford researchers through intellectual property licensing, spinout company formation and material sales, and to academic expertise through our Consulting Services team. The New Venture Support & Funding team supports investors or donors with an interest in early-stage ventures, and manages the Oxford Angels Network. Our Startup Incubator supports members and ex-members of the University who wish to start or grow entrepreneur-driven ventures that are not University spinouts. Oxford University Innovation is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked 1st in the UK for university spinouts, having created over 160 new companies since 1988. In the last reported financial year we completed more than 45 licenses and consulting agreements every month. Oxentia, our innovation management consultancy, works with university, government and industrial clients from offices around the world. For updates on innovations from Oxford, follow Oxford University Innovation on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe at:


About the Netherlands Cancer Institute

The Netherlands Cancer Institute is at the international forefront of cancer care and research for already more than a century. The unique combination of health care and scientific research within the same institute offers great benefit for cancer patients. Specialized cancer care professionals work together in multidisciplinary teams every day to set up and carry out treatment plans tailored to the needs of individual patients because no two tumors are alike. Cancer patients or people suspected of having cancer can come to our hospital, known as the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, to make use of this personal approach and the state-of-the-art research and treatment facilities. The research institute employs more than 600 scientists investigating many aspects of cancer development, diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology. Scientists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute have excess to state-of-the-art research facilities supporting their basic, translational and clinical research. This scientific research could not be carried out without the institutional support of the Dutch Cancer Society, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the many research grants obtained by our researchers from (inter)national funding agencies, and the generous donations made by individuals that support our research program. The Netherlands Cancer Institute is the only OECI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Netherlands. For more information please visit our websites and