Posted on September 22, 2016 by staff

Cambridge biotech firm launched to fight cancer


A biotech company committed to fighting cancer has launched in Cambridge following a £25 million fundraising round.

Artios Pharma raised the money from a syndicate of leading European and US life science investors, led by SV Life Sciences.

It will fund the development of a pipeline of DNA Damage Response (DDR) cancer therapies.

DDR is a mechanism through which cells repair their damaged DNA.  Research has shown that tumours manipulate this ability to repair DNA, allowing them to mutate and evolve.

Targeting a tumour’s remaining DNA repair mechanisms has been proven to cause its selective death, a concept known as “synthetic lethality”.

Chief executive Dr Niall Martin has “proven expertise” in DDR drug discovery as previous director of drug discovery at KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to AstraZeneca in January 2006 for $210m.

“Targeting the DNA Damage Response is an exciting and promising field of biology,” he said in a press release.

“DDR drug products have the potential to become established first-line treatments, either as single agents or for use in combination with many currently approved therapies.

“It is an ideal time for Artios to be entering the field as a DDR focused, independent biotech company and we are delighted to welcome our world-class investors to the company and to announce our first partnership with Cancer Research Technology.”

Prior to joining Artios, Dr. Martin was co-founder and chief operating officer at MISSION Therapeutics, a Cambridge company focused on researching and drugging the ubiquitin pathways for the treatment of cancers and other diseases.

Last month Chris Molloy pledged to shape drug discovery and development in the UK after he was named first chief executive of the Medicines Discovery Catapult technology and innovation centre at Alderley Park in Cheshire.