Drug discovery company PharmEnable has closed a pre-Series A investment round of £6 million to develop the next generation of small molecule drugs.

The funding round was led by MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), the venture arm of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Group, with additional participation from existing investors including Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VIII, managed by Parkwalk Advisors, Heyford Trust, o2h Ventures, Martlet Capital, Arrowfield Capital, Wren Capital and life science experienced angel investors including Jonathan Milner.

The funds will be used to advance and expand PharmEnable’s portfolio of wholly owned and co-discovery projects across oncology and neurology targets, as well as supporting further platform R&D.

PharmEnable uses its proprietary platform to discover targeted therapies with the aim of replicating the specificity of biologics, but with improved efficacy, absorption and distribution properties enabled by custom-designed oral small molecules, which are also easier to scale and manufacture. 

The company’s approach combines advanced medicinal chemistry with state-of-the-art AI technology, allowing it to unlock challenging biological targets by mapping unexplored chemical space. This approach delivers novel proprietary candidate drug molecules with the required 3-dimensional structure elements that lead to improved selectivity and ultimately reduce attrition rates. 

The aim is to develop therapies that are highly effective with fewer side effects to treat diseases with a high clinical need.

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PharmEnable has a pipeline of wholly owned oncology programmes, as well as ongoing co-discovery projects with several pharma and biotech companies, including a partnership with Sosei Heptares to unlock novel drug candidates for neurological disease. The wholly owned programmes focus on addressing some of the key challenges in oncology such as tumour penetration and overcoming resistance mechanisms, through designing novel, complex small molecules with improved selectivity and carefully balanced properties.

Alongside the investment, PharmEnable’s Board has been expanded with Dr Jeffrey Moore joining as a board director, representing MP Healthcare. Dr Keith Blundy has replaced Dr Christine Martin as an investor director on behalf of Cambridge Enterprise. 

“At PharmEnable, we believe that everyone deserves safe and effective treatments, and we are committed to applying the principles of chemical novelty, diversity and 3-dimensionality to design powerful new small molecule drugs,” said CEO of PharmEnable Dr Hannah Sore. 

“I am delighted that MP Healthcare has led our Pre-Series A to enable our mission to deliver life-changing medicines to patients who need them.

“I am pleased to welcome the highly experienced Dr Jeffrey Moore and Dr Keith Blundy to our board and look forward to working our team, our board and our investors to deliver novel therapeutics for the most challenging disease areas, ultimately making a difference to patients’ lives.”

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