Discovery Park Ventures early stage life sciences fund has invested a quarter of a million pounds in two developing businesses. Pharma and biotech screening tools producer AbsoluteAi receives £50,000 and weight loss product manufacturer Oxford Medical Products gets £200,000.
The backing from the fund, which was developed out of the Discovery Park science park, takes the number of companies in its portfolio to six. Established in 2022, DPV invests in novel and disruptive technology usually related to Discovery Park’s focus areas1 and has plans to expand investments up to £25 million. AbsoluteAi helps drug developers navigate the toxicity landscape of drug discovery with state-of-the-art scalable toxicity screening tools for the pharma and biotech industry. Also backed by Sustainable Ventures, it has completed its first strategic partnership and is now raising a £1.5 million seed round. Oxford Medical Products, led by Dr Camilla Easter, developed the novel weight-loss product Sirona and is backed additionally by Ada Ventures, Nesta VC, Selvedge Venture and OION.
Female-led preclinical biotech start-up Vitarka Therapeutics, focused on revolutionising non-viral drug delivery technology, has raised £1.27 million from venture capital firm SOSV, the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and grant funding from Innovate UK. Founded in 2021 by Dr Vineeta Tripathi (formerly of Boehringer Ingelheim and Ipsen Bioinnovation), Vitarka Therapeutics is developing combination medicines using RNAi therapies and a non-viral drug delivery platform, with novel tumour-targeted platform technology, EndoPore, targeting solid tumours and delivers therapeutics for intracellular targets.
Founding CSO of UK Centre for Excellence Medicines Discovery Catapult Professor Peter Simpson recently joined Vitarka’s team as Chief Strategy Officer.
ProBioGen and ImmunOs Therapeutics announce the extension of their partnership for further large-scale manufacturing of clinical material for, ImmunOs' lead program for the treatment of cancer, IOS-1002. ProBioGen previously developed the cell line and the manufacturing process and provided the initial clinical material for ImmunOs' innovative biologic.
The Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association (MBA) is seeking candidates for top jobs in marine biology, with the creation of two new senior job roles and additional research posts. These include two key new roles: Director of Science, responsible for strategic oversight to the expanding research programme; and Director of Association, leading on commercial and charitable business efforts, including promotion and development. There will also be research fellowships in marine microbiome, coastal ecology and ocean biology. MBA recently invested in a £5-million laboratory refurbishment to create a Marine Microbiome Centre of Excellence, described as the first of its kind in the UK.
Newcastle-based Nanovery has raised more than £ 1.85 million in funding towards its efforts to improve testing for prostate cancer. It includes £500,000 investment from the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures alongside investment from Prostate Cancer Research together with an investment of £250,000 from JR Holding ASI, and £305,000 from angel investors. Innovate UK awarded the company a grant of £750,000 to develop its disease screening activities. Nanovery’s nanorobot platform was developed to detect chronic illnesses including prostate cancer, liver disease, and severe conditions such as acute liver and kidney toxicity.
Optibrium, a leading developer of software and AI solutions for drug discovery, today announced the appointment of Dr Hamed Tabatabaei Ghomi as Head of Research. Ghomi will lead Optibrium’s Research Team and joined Optibrium from Illumina, where he focused on computational protein engineering and small molecule design as Bioinformatics Manager.
Recently founded Paris-based preclinical stage biotechnology company specialising in thrombo-inflammatory disorders Calida Therapeutics has raised €2 million in seed funding from life science-focused venture capitalists AdBio partners. Calida was co-founded in December 2022 by Dr. Daniel Simon, MD, PhD, Dr. Edward Plow, PhD, and Dr. Yunmei Wang, PhD, together with the venture capital funds BioMotiv and AdBio partners. It aims to develop monoclonal antibodies to treat and prevent thrombo-inflammatory disorders, and its work is based on more than 20 years of research conducted in Cleveland, Ohio by leading researchers from the academic and medical ecosystem
Life sciences company developing innovative, targeted oncology drugs and powerful diagnostics Avacta Group has opened two clinical investigator sites for the phase 1 clinical trial of AVA6000 under its US Investigational New Drug application: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Seattle.
Biotech specialising in the design, production and marketing of state-of-the-art rapid molecular diagnostic tests for the veterinary profession, Enalees has opened its new proteomics development and production laboratory at the Greater Paris Genopole cluster site for production of recombinant proteins and to strengthen R&D for its rapid diagnostic kits. Last October, it received a €500,000 subsidy as part of the France 2030 Investments for the Future Program, allocated by the Ile-de-France region. Enalees designated around 60% of this budget to cutting-edge lab equipment with further 10%-plus dedicated to building work, financed in part by SEM Genopole.
The unit will focus on the production of specific recombinant proteins used to detect new pathogens in animal infectious diseases, and also enable Enalees to broaden its focus to include other species in addition to dogs, cats and horses.
Mosaic Therapeutics has closed its $28 million series A funding round and announced the appointment of former Novartis Oncology SVP Brian Gladsden as CEO. Investment raised from Syncona Investment Management, Ltd, and Cambridge Innovation Capital will help advance Mosaic’s pipeline of targeted oncology therapies for biomarker-stratified populations and support recruitment efforts. Mosaic’s use of advanced computational methods, while combining mining of large datasets with experimental approaches to identify and develop novel targeted therapies have combined with a close relationship with the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
South Africa’s only trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, biotechnology and diagnostics, analytica Lab Africa, returns to Johannesburg’s Gallagher Convention Centre from 5-7 July this year after two years. Showcasing equipment, techniques and services across analysis, quality control, laboratory technology, life sciences, biotechnology and diagnostics, the first analytica Lab Africa in July 2019 attracted more than 145 exhibitors from 15 countries across 6,000 square metres of exhibition space. Now organised by Messe Muenchen India and Messe München GmbH, the co-located analytica Lab Africa and IFAT Africa events aim to attract 6,000 visitors. Bhupinder Singh, Chief Executive Officer at Messe München India stated: “As the only trade fair for its sector in South Africa, analytica Lab Africa offers a unique opportunity for industry stakeholders and professionals to network face to face with their peers and discover changing trends, innovations and solutions.”
Contract Research Organisation TransCure bioServices announced two new additions to their team, with the aim of further enhancing the care given to their animals. Dr Solenn Percelay joins the team as an Animal Welfare Scientist, while Dr Noémie Spinelli expands the veterinary team. The organisation has Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) accreditation.
Photo (clockwise from top left): Dr Vineeta Tripathi; Marine Microbiome Centre; DPV Lab Oxford Medical Products’ Dr Camilla Easter, Prof Hutan Ashrafian. Dr Xue Min and Dr Nicholas Edwards; Discovery Park