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Why Being in a New Field From the Start Can Pay Off in the Long Run

The field of immuno-oncology has expanded out of all recognition over the last few years. Having co-founded one of the first cancer immunotherapy biotechs — Immatics — CEO Harpreet Singh has seen it all happen. He plans to take advantage of the company’s head start to tackle solid tumors with its T-cell redirecting therapies. 

Singh co-founded Immatics in 2000 with two fellow academics, Toni Weinschenk and Niels Emmerich, while completing a PhD in immunology at the University of Tübingen in Germany. The decision to found a company was based on discoveries made in the lab of Hans-Georg Rammensee of targets that could be used to develop a variety of T-cell-based immunotherapies for cancer.

The company has gone from strength to strength since then, raising over €350M in private fundraising and partnership deals, and has several drug candidates undergoing phase I/II trials. Singh has guided the research and development at the company as CSO and MD for many years. He was also instrumental in setting up and leading the US office of the company in Houston, in collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, from 2015 until earlier this year when he became CEO.

What inspired you to get into biotech in the first place?

Translating scientific knowledge into something that can benefit the patients was always my primary driver.

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