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Samsara Therapeutics expands at the Wood Centre for Innovation

December 15th 2021

Post created by The Oxford Trust to give insight into the science and tech businesses they support in their innovation centres: the Oxford Centre for Innovation and the Wood Centre for Innovation.

Samsara Therapeutics is expanding operations at the Wood Centre for Innovation in Oxford to further build their translational research capabilities.


The company moved into the new R&D labs at The Oxford Trust’s Wood Centre for Innovation in May this year and is now taking on additional staff and expanding their office and lab space to further their drug discovery efforts focused on restoring autophagy. In particular, the expansion will allow Samsara to develop induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s.

There is an unmet need for novel therapies that can prevent debilitating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease. Most current therapies address the symptoms rather than the underlying molecular causes. Samsara’s strategy is to target the underlying disease cause at an early stage.

Set up and funded by Apollo Health Ventures of Berlin, Samsara is one of a small but growing number of biotechs worldwide developing therapeutics to restore autophagy, a process of cellular renewal known to be aberrant in these diseases. Samsara’s expansion builds upon their promising recent achievements, allowing translational studies in disease relevant iPSC-derived dopaminergic cultures using their potent and selective autophagy inducers.

Peter Hamley, Chief Scientific Officer at Samsara Therapeutics comments: “Samsara’s best-in-class autophagy drug discovery platform, LysoSeeker™, is now further enhanced by being able to perform experiments in cells derived directly from patients suffering from debilitating diseases. We will gain a better understanding of how our potential therapeutics perform in highly relevant cellular models as we progress towards clinical trials”

Samsara’s strategy to restore autophagy to dysfunctional neurons will tackle the origin of the problems seen in these diseases at a much earlier stage or even prevent It from happening in the first place. This direct approach is likely to be disease modifying. Samsara has already demonstrated excellent results in animal models of neurodegeneration. With a larger team and expanded lab space, they will be able to take their promising small molecule compounds closer to the clinic.

Samsara’s expansion is part of our phase 2 development of R&D labs at the Wood Centre for Innovation, which has been supported by £0.2m from the Local Growth Fund, secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Exciting times ahead for Samsara!


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