Spinning Out Success


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Spinning Out Success


OxStem & Profs Angela Russell and Steve Davies 

OxStem is a regenerative medicine drug-discovery company developing small molecules for treatment of diseases with high unmet clinical need - cancer, Alzheimer’s, age-related macular degeneration and heart failure.

Co-founded by serial entrepreneur Prof Steve Davies and Prof Angela Russell from Chemistry, alongside Prof Dame Kay Davies in the Department of Physiology Anatomy and Genetics; their mission is to disruptively transform healthcare for patient benefit. They are aiming to do this by providing revolutionary, new treatments that treat degenerative diseases and enable life-longevity.

Most of the regenerative medicine field is developing stem cell transplantation therapies. OxStem however, is taking a different and novel game-changing approach. The human body already has the potential to repair and regenerate itself, stored within populations of resident stem and progenitor cells, but the repair mechanisms are switched off or significantly slowed down after adult development. OxStem develops small molecule drugs that target these resident stem and progenitor cell populations and re-activates their existing repair mechanisms in situ. This completely avoids transplantation of cells and therefore circumvents the associated tolerance and rejection issues caused by the immune system with cell therapies.

OxStem has a unique structure – all of their research is carried out inside the University. Half of their research team are organic and medicinal chemists based in the Chemistry Research Laboratory and the other half work across four different biological and clinical departments here in Oxford. This innovative model is the first of its kind for the University of Oxford. 

This disruptive science and innovative company structure has attracted great interest from around the world. The Financial Times featured OxStem in May 2016 when they closed their record-breaking £16.9m seed fundraising round – the highest ever raised for a UK University spin out. In October 2016, OxStem won the OBN award for “Best Start-Up Biotechnology Company’ being recognised for their outstanding and disruptive approach within the field. In January 2017, Prof Angela Russell was interviewed by BBC South Today to speak about their innovation, and most recently OxStem was featured in Nature as one of the top six Biotechnology start-up companies in the world.

OxStem celebrate winning the OBN award for ‘Best Biotechnology Start Up Company 2016’. L-R: Dr Carolyn Porter, Dr Amy Varney, Prof Steve Davies, Dr Michael Stein, Prof Angela Russell, Raymond Spencer. Photo credit to OBN.

© Catalyst Innovation Portal 2019