#UK Woodford helps Cambridge cancer pioneer lift funding past $125m


MISSION's CSO Professor Steve Jackson

Cambridge UK medical technology business MISSION Therapeutics has raised $86.37 million (£60m) in fresh money – taking its funding haul to date past the $125m mark.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust Plc has, for the second time in a week, become a new investor in a Cambridge biotech company, having also backed Inivata.

MISSION, another success for Professor Steve Jackson’s Cambridge team, is Business Weekly’s reigning Life Science Innovation champion and focuses on selectively targeting deubiquitylating enzymes to treat cancer, neurodegenerative and other diseases.

The financing was jointly led by Imperial Innovations Businesses and Woodford with follow-on investment from existing shareholders Sofinnova Partners, SR One, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments.

The cash will enable MISSION to maximise the potential of its world leading DUB platform and advance a series of first-in-class small molecule drugs candidates targeting specific DUBs into clinical development.

Anker Lundemose, CEO at MISSION said: “MISSION Therapeutics has attracted one of the highest profile investor syndicates in Europe. We welcome WPCT and thank our existing investors for their continued support.

“This is strong endorsement of our unique discovery platform and will enable us to maximise the potential of multiple lead compounds for diverse therapeutic indications.

2016 will see us progress our advanced programs into regulatory preclinical development and deepen our pipeline, from a position of increased financial strength.”

DUBs are involved in multiple cellular processes, including DNA damage and cell proliferation. The inhibition of these enzymes has considerable potential for the generation of novel drugs for treating cancer and other unmet medical needs, including neurodegenerative disease, muscle wasting and infectious disease.

Despite significant efforts within the pharmaceutical sector, there is a lack of DUB inhibitors in clinical development.

MISSION Therapeutics was founded in 2011 to commercialise expert research into the ubiquitin pathway for the treatment of cancers and non-malignant disease.

The company has strong links with key academic and research centres including Cancer Research UK laboratories and the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge.

Steve Jackson (pictured above) at Cancer Research UK laboratories and the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge is the scientific founder of MISSION and the chief scientific officer.

MISSION has previously received £27 million in venture capital from a blue chip syndicate comprising institutional (Sofinnova Partners, Imperial Innovations) and corporate (SR One, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer) investors. The company is based at the Babraham Research Campus.

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