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Dr. Eric DeJesus, President, Co-founder of Annate BiTherapeutics, Inc. Speaks at January General Membership Meeting

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2024

Over 65 ARCS members and guests gathered at the downtown Capital City Club on January 17, 2024, for one of the most exciting General Membership Meetings in recent memory.  Former ARCS Scholar Dr. Eric DeJesus spoke about the formation of his new company, Annate BiTherapeutics, Inc. which is based on the research he began as an ARCS scholar at the University of Georgia.

An ARCS Scholar from 2013-2014, Eric DeJesus received the Herz Global Impact Award while a PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UGA.  There, under the guidance of Stephen L. Hajduk, he focused on the effects of a human innate molecule called Trypanosome lytic factor (TLF).   

It was this research that led to his becoming a founder of Annate BiTherapeutics, Inc. a biotech company working to selectively treat a wide range of tumor types through immune therapies.  Dr. DeJesus spoke to ARCS members about how the revelations of African Trypanosomes are changing the cancer landscape.

Shortly after the meeting, Dr. DeJesus wrote to tell us that they had just received another Seed grant to use the technology towards a new therapeutic for pancreatic cancer.  Below is an explanation of the new grant in his own words:

Over the last two years, the UGA Cancer Center has held an annual symposium with the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The goal has been to build collaboration between the two Centers to unify the research being done at both institutions. This is actually how our collaboration was born with Drs. Lesinski, Paulos, Maithel, Nooka, and Douglas. 

The symposium has a donor that sponsored two $50,000 Pilot Grants each year for the generation of projects between researchers at both institutions. We were fortunate enough to get a Pilot application funded this year where we wrote to use our antibody technology to target a specific cancer biomarker on pancreatic cancer. The Emory team includes Drs. Greg Lesinski, Chrystal Paulos, and Shishir Maithel. The UGA team includes myself, Drs. Michael Cipriano, Steve Hajduk, and Eugene Douglass.

We start work this month and have one year to generate data (with an optional no-cost extension) and are required to, if data is positive, submit an R01 NIH grant as well as an SBIR business grant. 

We are very excited about this new opportunity as the current VC funding is focused on Multiple myeloma, although we knew we could use the technology to target other cancers. This will open the doors for us to showcase our capabilities and further de-risk our working therapeutic, opening us up for further funding and development.

It is our hope that, in the future, the research of our former ARCS Scholar Eric DeJesus will target and cure many forms of cancer.  Dr. DeJesus is, indeed, the embodiment of our ARCS Mission – a scholar who will change the world.  Thank you, Dr. Eric DeJesus.  We look forward to following your career.

To see more photos of the January General Membership meeting, please visit the Event Highlights page on our ARCS Atlanta website at this link: