A preclinical biotechnology company, spun out of The University of Manchester, has completed a £62m (€72m) finance deal to develop the treatment of a leading cause of blindness.

The Germany-based company, Complement Therapeutics GmbH (CTx), specialises in disorders that affect the part of the body’s immune system called the Complement cascade.

CTx was spun out of The University of Manchester Innovation Factory with initial funding from BGV in 2021 and subsequently received £4.35m (€5m) seed funding in February 2022 from Forbion and BGV.

With that funding, CTx has advanced CTx001 through preclinical proof-of-concept, secured an Innovation Passport by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and initiated a non-interventional natural history study in the UK (i-GAIN).

Dr Rafiq Hasan, CEO and managing director at Complement Therapeutics GmbH said: “With a potentially highly differentiated lead asset combined with a precision medicine approach, we are excited by the opportunity to further develop CTx001 for the treatment of GA through to the clinic.

“The support of this broad syndicate enables us to generate additional data demonstrating CTx001’s unique and differentiated mechanism of action, with the potential to transform the treatment landscape in geographic atrophy.”

Dr Richard Unwin, senior lecturer at The University of Manchester and one of the co-founders of the company said : “This is a hugely exciting step forward which will allow us to take observations we have made in the lab here in Manchester and move them towards developing new treatments for a range of common and serious complement-mediated diseases.

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“By combing new therapies with our bespoke precision medicine platform we have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients with these debilitating disorders.”

Complement cascade disorders cause various health problems, including Geographic atrophy (GA) – or late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration – a chronic eye condition that causes blindness in millions of people globally and for which there is currently no available treatment in the UK.

The company has subsidiaries in the UK (Complement Therapeutics Ltd) and in the USA (Complement Therapeutics Inc) as well as research laboratories in Stevenage, UK.

The financing will allow CTx to continue the development and complete a Phase Ib clinical proof of concept of its lead treatment, called CTx001, for GA.

Proceeds from the financing will also be deployed to grow its laboratory-based activities in Stevenage, evaluate CTx’s additional new medicines for non-ocular indications as well as further develop the novel Complement Precision Medicine (CPM) platform.

Based on pioneering research of the company’s founders, Prof Simon Clark, Prof Paul Bishop and Dr Richard Unwin from The University of Manchester, Complement Therapeutics aims to develop innovative and effective therapeutics to address unmet needs in complement mediated diseases.

Through an extensive programme of translational research the scientists have gained powerful new insights into the ways the Complement cascade works and how it is dysregulated in age-related macular degeneration.

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The University of Manchester Innovation Factory’s core mission is to use the IP developed at the university to create positive social, economic, and environmental impact.

The Innovation Factory works with academic and student inventors to identify research that has the potential to create value. It then translates these into a form where they can be used to benefit society as a whole.