Epicombi Therapeutics

Rational Epigenetic-driven Drug Combination Design

Our Story

Disease biology complexity and drug discovery: the need for a new paradigm

  • Drug discovery for complex diseases has a success rate of less than 2%
  • Often defeated by the complex and robust cell biology that has evolved over millions of years.
  • Inherent multi-target effects of drugs are not only problematic for safety but also for efficacy, which accounts for much of this lack of success

EpiCombi's data-driven approach, supported by cutting-edge machine learning technology, detects disease-relevant genomic signatures and translates these into multi-targeted drugs which are better matched to complexity of disease biology.

This new paradigm will increase the efficiency of drug discovery to the benefit of everyone.

Our Technology

Disruptive AI/Machine Learning-driven discovery platform applied to pancreatic and other intractable cancers

We filter disease-related information embedded in genomic datasets to generate drug predictions. Using machine learning this can be further translated into key gene drivers and targets leading to the identification of novel drugs with inherent polypharmacological activity.

Epigenetics: a back door to increasing cancer cell vulnerability

Conventional cancer therapeutics involves a frontal attack on tumors to trigger regression. More recent approaches attempt to exploit cancer vulnerabilities linked to dormant immunological responses. However, response rates to these therapies (immuno-oncology) remain relatively low, particularly in solid tumors (such as pancreatic) with low immune cell penetrance (designated Cold)

Epicombi has developed approaches to artificially induce cancer cell vulnerabilities by reversing aberrant epigenetic signaling, restoring previously lost cellular identity and, combined with other therapies, inducing synthetic lethality from which these cancers cannot recover.

Our platform identifies the key signals that underpin this process, identifying associated targets and enabling the discovery of drugs that, together with other therapeutic modalities can alter the fate of previously intractable cancers.

Our People

Steven Zimmer
Founder & CEO

Steven is the founder and co-founder of several biotech start-ups including Protein Sciences Inc., recently acquired by Sanofi Pasteur. He has a BSc(Hon) in Biochemistry and an MSc in Molecular Biology. He is a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford in the Structural Genomics Consortium. His early career was on Wall Street and in the City of London as an analyst, investment banker and portfolio manager.

David Pool

David is a computer scientist with a focus on commercialisation and growth of deep-tech start-ups. UK Managing director of Deep Reinforcement Learning Company, Curious.ai. Main board director TechUK. Co-founder of Mind Foundry (machine learning spin-out from the University of Oxford). Built and exited many successful machine learning and data analytics companies. Regular lecturer and speaker on many AI related topics.

Dr Rhys Newman

Rhys is a deep-tech spinout technologist, founding multiple companies that innovate in Medtech, Big Data, Minetech, Fintech, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Enterprise IT. Extensive experience of IT commercialisation, products and services including B2C, B2B and cloud services. Ex-Oxford University academic, previous Director of Product Development Mind Foundry and Head of Canon Research Australia (CiSRA)

Caroline Warboys

Caroline has 30 years as a start-up entrepreneur (CallCredit and Outra), operating executive (Wunderkind and Outra) and more recently as an investor and board member (ComplyAdvantage, Chiaro, MarketInvoice and OnePulse). She was also Deputy Chair of the DMA (Data & Marketing Association) up until March 2020

Professor Eric O'Neill

Eric is Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford. He is a principal investigator and expert in signal transduction and epigenetics with a focus on translational oncology. He is also a Visiting Professor in Systems Biology Ireland, University college Dublin and holds advisory posts on national cancer research institute (NCRI) sub-committees. He was the Head of Signalling and Epigenetics at the former Cancer Research UK/MRC Oxford institute for Radiation Oncology over 12 years and held a Marie-Curie fellowship at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow prior to coming to Oxford.

Andrew Wood

Andrew has a first class BA from Oxford in Biochemistry and is a CharteredAccountant with extensive finance and commercial experience in startup, early stage and established biotechbusinesses. For 16 years, he was CFO and Company Secretary of Oxford Biomedica plc.


Professor Paul Brennan

Paul is an Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the SGC, Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University. He is a principal investigator and Group lead In both the SGC and the TDI at Oxford with a focus on designing chemical probes for various disease conditions. Previously he was Design Lead at Pfizer and a medicinal chemist at Amgen.

Professor Lei Xie

Lei is a professor of Computer Science at Hunter College, CUNY and Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience at Weill College, Cornell Medical College. Previosly he was a Principal Scientist at the San Deigo Supercomputer centre and specialises in the application of Machine Learning to bioinformatics driven drug discovery.

Professor Katherine Chiappinelli

Kate received her PhD in Developmental, Regenerative, and Stem Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. She pursued postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Stephen Baylin investigating the epigenetic control of immune signaling in cancer cells. Her research focuses on how epigenetic therapies can be used against cancers.

Scientific Advisory Board

Professor Chas Bountra

Chas is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation at the University of Oxford. He is Professor of Translational Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. He is also a Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Imperial College, London. He was the Head of Biology at GSK prior to coming to Oxford.

Professor Paul Workman

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Institute for Cancer Research in London. Previously he was the Head of Cancer Bioscience Resaerch at Astra Zeneca where he developed a partnership with Sugen. He was the scientific co-founder of Chroma Therapeutics and Piramed (acquired by Roche).

Professor Stephen Haggarty

Stephen is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director, Chemical Neurobiology Laboratory, Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also a Senior Associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.