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Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, 'the Group', 'Innovations') has committed £5.1 million to the £25.0 million Series A funding round of Artios Pharma Ltd. ('Artios' or 'the Company') a new Cambridge-based private biotech company launched today, focused on the development of novel DNA Damage Response (DDR) cancer therapies.
Artios was formed with assets out of Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the technology transfer unit of Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The Company is led by Dr. Niall Martin, Artios' Chief Executive Officer, who has proven expertise in DDR drug discovery as previous Director of Drug Discovery at KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, which discovered Olaparib (an FDA-approved targeted therapy for cancer). KuDOS was sold to AstraZeneca in January 2006 for $210m. Prior to joining Artios, Dr. Martin was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at MISSION Therapeutics, another Cambridge-based drug discovery company in which Innovations has invested.
Artios is backed by a strong syndicate of leading European and US life science investors including SV Life Sciences, Merck Ventures, Arix Bioscience PLC, CRT Pioneer Fund (managed by Sixth Element Capital), and AbbVie Ventures in addition to Innovations. The investment will be used to build a high value pipeline of DDR therapies sourced from Cancer Research UK and global collaborators, and to progress its lead programmes, including Pol-theta, into the clinic.
Following this investment Innovations will hold a 14.9% interest in the Company.
Bobby Soni, Director of Healthcare Ventures at Imperial Innovations commented:
"It's not every day that you get an opportunity to help launch such an exciting company.
"Targeting the DNA Damage Response is an exciting and promising field of biology. DDR drug products have generated considerable interest following the recent clinical successes of PARP inhibitors which have highlighted the potential for DDR drugs to cause selective death in cancer cells.
"We are delighted to be part of such an impressive syndicate of investors which reflects Artios' international ambitions to build a pipeline of first-in-class DDR therapies identified from a network of global, independent collaborators."
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