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Redmile and Google help Evox raise £35.5m for exosome pipeline

It is reported that GV contributed £10m of the total

Evox

Oxford University spin-out Evox Therapeutics has raised £35.5m (around $45m) in a second-round financing that will be used to fund clinical trials of its exosome-delivered drugs.

The cash injection – led by Redmile Group and with Google’s venture arm GV and Cowen Healthcare among the new investors – will help the company progress “several proprietary rare disease assets towards the clinic”. GV stumped up around £10m of the total, according to an article in The Times.

Evox is developing a new drug delivery platform based on extracellular vesicles (exosomes) that are used by cells to transport molecular ‘cargo’ between them, typically substances that are simply too big to cross cell membranes by other means.

Using technology developed at Oxford University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, Evox is designing exosomes that can target diseased cells and deliver a therapeutic payload, including large-molecule biologics and RNA drugs. The biotech says its candidates can cross tissues barriers, including the blood-brain barrier which is a primary reason why developing drugs for central nervous system diseases can be so challenging.

Evox’ lead programme is an exosome-based drug to deliver proteins deficient in Niemann-Pick disease type C, a rare inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by an accumulation of lipids in the liver, brain and spleen. Two proteins (NP-C1 and NP-C2) help control lipid transport within cells in patients with this disorder, with the majority (95%) of cases involving mutations in the NP-C1 gene.

Earlier-stage programmes are looking at other lipid storage diseases as well as rare metabolic disorders, according to the company’s pipeline chart, and Evox is also working with German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim on an undisclosed RNA target and another, unnamed partner on using exosomes to deliver small-molecules for a CNS disease.

The Series B funding will also be used to develop the exosome delivery platform, according to Evox’ chief executive Dr Antonin de Fougerolles.

“Over the past several years we have continued to expand the reach of our exosome platform, translating that knowledge into impactful therapeutics for our internal pipeline and for partners,” he said.

“We have also vigorously expanded our robust intellectual property portfolio, built our internal R&D teams, and put in place advisory boards who are offering deep insights as we advance key programmes towards clinical development.”

Evox spun out of Oxford in 2016 with £10m in seed funding, with de Fougerolles – who was previously chief scientific officer of Ablynx before its €9.3bn takeover by Sanofi earlier this year – taking the helm last November.

Article by
Phil Taylor

4th September 2018

From: Sales

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