Team Led by Boundless Bio Scientific Founders Receives $25M Award to Better Understand Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) Through Cancer Grand Challenges

The Cancer Grand Challenges global initiative, funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has awarded Boundless Bio’s principal founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chairman, Dr. Paul Mischel, and an elite team of ecDNA scientific experts, $25 million, representing the largest public funding of ecDNA research to date

SAN DIEGO--()--Boundless Bio, a next-generation precision oncology company developing innovative therapeutics directed against extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in oncogene amplified cancers, today is pleased to share the news that a global team of ecDNA experts comprised of several Boundless Bio scientific co-founders and led by Boundless Bio principal founder, Paul Mischel, M.D. has been awarded $25 million in funding by the National Cancer Institute (NCI*) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) through Cancer Grand Challenges to deepen the understanding of the role of ecDNA in cancer pathogenesis. Cancer Grand Challenges is a unique global funding initiative founded by CRUK and the NCI, who have set ambitious challenges to assemble global teams to think creatively and make a profound difference in the fight against cancer.

The global ecDNA research team, also known as “the Cancer Grand Challenges eDyNAmiC team”, is led by Dr. Mischel, who has been at the forefront of research into the importance of ecDNA in gene amplified cancers such as EGFR amplified glioblastoma. Dr. Mischel and his team will use the funding to answer key scientific questions to further understand the biological mechanisms of ecDNA generation and function, as well as potential therapeutic strategies to help improve cancer outcomes. The multi-disciplinary research team includes the following scientific experts that are also members of Boundless Bio’s Scientific Advisory Board:

  • Paul Mischel, M.D., Institute Scholar, ChEM-H; Professor and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pathology, Stanford University
  • Vineet Bafna, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, University of California San Diego
  • Howard Chang, M.D., Ph.D., Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Genomics and Genetics, Stanford University
  • Ben Cravatt, Ph.D., Professor and Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Roel Verhaak, Professor and Associate Director of Computational Biology, The Florine Deschenes Roux Chair for Genomics and Computational Biology, The Jackson Laboratories

“We congratulate Paul and the eDyNAmiC team for receiving the prestigious Cancer Grand Challenges award to progress innovative research in the expanding field of ecDNA,” said Zachary Hornby, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boundless Bio. “This award further underscores the importance of ecDNA biology in cancer and our goal to bring the first ecDNA-directed therapeutics (ecDTx) into clinical trials for patients with oncogene amplified cancer. We at Boundless continue to be inspired by Dr. Mischel and the eDyNAmiC scientific team’s commitment to advancing the scientific understanding of ecDNA.”

“We are thrilled to receive the NCI and CRUK award, an acknowledgement of the critical role ecDNA play in the biology of cancer,” said Dr. Mischel, Professor and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pathology, Stanford University. “It is amazing to reflect on how rapidly the ecDNA field has come of age. With this recognition and dedicated funding for ecDNA research, we have the opportunity to further explore the pathogenesis of ecDNA in cancer with the goal of developing innovative new treatments that benefit patients with oncogene amplified cancers driven by ecDNA.”

For more information on Cancer Grand Challenges, please visit:

For more information on the eDyNAmiC team, please visit:

*The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health.

About ecDNA

Extrachromosomal DNA (“ecDNA”) are circular units of nuclear DNA that are physically distinct from chromosomes and are found within cancer cells. ecDNA encode full length genes, including oncogenes and regulatory regions, are highly transcriptionally active, and lack centromeres. ecDNA replicate and express within cancer cells and, due to their lack of centromeres, can be asymmetrically passed to daughter cells during cell division, leading to focal gene amplification and copy number heterogeneity in cancer. By leveraging the plasticity afforded by ecDNA, cancer cells have the ability to increase or decrease copy number of select oncogenes located on ecDNA to enable survival under selective pressures, including targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiation, thereby making ecDNA one of cancer cells’ primary mechanisms of growth, recurrence, and treatment resistance. ecDNA are not found in healthy cells but are present in many solid tumor cancers. They are a key driver of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancers, specifically those characterized by high copy number amplification of oncogenes.

About Boundless Bio

Boundless Bio is a next-generation precision oncology company interrogating a novel area of cancer biology, extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA), to deliver transformative therapies to patients with oncogene amplified cancers.

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James Lee
Director of Business Development
Boundless Bio


James Lee
Director of Business Development
Boundless Bio