Research Foundation News

November 18, 2020

Biotech company gains major funding to keep developing use of immune system to fight cancer

Philip_Low Photo Caption: Umoja Biopharma, a biotechnology company, is using technology created by Philip S. Low, the Purdue Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery. (Image provided)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Umoja Biopharma, a Purdue University-affiliated biotechnology company focused on using a patient’s own immune cells to kill cancerous cells, has secured one of the largest initial rounds of funding ever for a Purdue-affiliated company.

Umoja on Wednesday (Nov. 18) announced the completion of its $53 million Series A financing. The Purdue Startup Fund participated in the financing. Umoja was founded by a team of leading scientists and researchers with the vision of creating an entirely new approach to engineered immunotherapies.

Umoja intends to expand accessibility to patients everywhere by enabling a person’s body to do the work previously undertaken by complex and costly manufacturing processes.

 “Scientists, investors and others are very interested in our work because it has the potential to both improve the efficacy and reduce the cost of a very promising immunotherapy for cancer,” said Philip S. Low, the Purdue Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery. “We are making significant advances in developing novel techniques to use a patient’s immune cells to kill his or her own cancer cells.”

Low is a serial entrepreneur who has worked for decades to bring life science solutions to the world. He has co-founded a number of Purdue-affiliated startups.

Umoja was founded based on pioneering work performed at Purdue and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Umoja’s platforms create and harness a powerful immune response in the body to directly, safely and controllably attack cancer.

Low previously worked on targeted therapies to reduce lung fibrosis.

Low’s technologies are licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at

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Writer: Chris Adam, 
Philip Low,

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