MIP Discovery, an innovative developer of non-biological affinity reagents designed to accelerate the development and production of cell and gene therapies, has closed a £7 million Series A financing round led by Mercia Ventures. 

Existing investor Calculus Capital also participated in the round, along with angel investors.

The investment marks a pivotal change for MIP Discovery as the Bedfordshire-based company refocuses its mission on improving the downstream processing of cell and gene therapies to accelerate widespread adoption of these potentially life-changing medicines.

The funding will be used to drive further commercialisation of MIP Discovery’s novel synthetic affinity reagents within the cell and gene therapy space, with the company working alongside leading industry players to develop novel tools aligned with critical applications. The funds will also support recruitment efforts to expand in-house cell and gene therapy expertise. 

MIP Discovery’s non-biological affinity reagents support a new approach to viral vector characterisation, viral vector purification, and safety and quality control processes, such as the detection and removal of impurities.

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Viral vectors are a critical component for many cell and gene therapies, and yet many of the current technologies used to characterise, develop, and manufacture them do not meet the required standards for scale, performance, or economics. Taking the industry beyond the limitations of biological reagents, MIP Discovery’s synthetic antibody alternatives offer a fresh approach to downstream processing for cell and gene therapy developers. 

MIP Discovery considers both the target and end-use application during the design phase of its reagents, offering an advanced alternative to biologicals with greater possibilities for characterisation and downstream processing.

Stephane Argivier, CEO of MIP Discovery, said: “Securing funding for a novel reagents company in today’s investment landscape demonstrates clear confidence in MIP Discovery’s technology and renewed commercial strategy. 

“Our proprietary modelling approach to developing synthetic antibody alternatives has already been successful for diagnostic applications, and we have already seen very encouraging traction for our expertise in the cell and gene therapy space.”

Mike Evans, chair of MIP Discovery, said: “MIP Discovery’s synthetic affinity reagents offer an innovative alternative to antibodies, and are better suited for downstream processing of advanced therapies. Backed by our proven technology and the confidence of our investors, we hope to help increase the affordability of cell and gene therapies, enabling the efficient delivery of these potentially life-saving treatments on a global scale.”

Dr Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia, said: “The broader cell and gene therapy market is a rapidly growing multi-billion-dollar market and its next stage of evolution is to focus down on technologies that reduce the cost of production and purification to ensure this therapeutic benefit is available for the many. 

“Using MIP’s sophisticated and highly scalable synthetic chemistry approach means they are well positioned to benefit from this tremendous high growth opportunity.”

Liz Klein, Investment Director at Calculus, added: “MIP Discovery’s synthetic affinity reagents hold huge potential to overcome bottlenecks in cell and gene therapy development and production. We are delighted to be further backing MIP as they are making significant technical progress.”

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