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UK immunology biotech MiroBio launches with $34m fundraising

Will develop therapeutic antibodies for autoimmune diseases

UK biotech

A new UK start-up called MiroBio has come out of stealth mode with a £27m ($34m) in first-round financing for its antibody therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.

The new company has been set up to draw on discoveries made at the laboratories of Simon Davis, professor of molecular immunology at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and Richard Cornall, Nuffield professor of clinical medicine at Oxford University.

The two co-founders are acting as scientific advisors to MiroBio, drawing on more than 15 years of research into immune-signalling mechanisms at the cell surface. The new biotech is focused on the development of therapeutic antibodies that can “reapply the natural brakes” of the immune system that are faulty in auto-immune diseases

The company says its antibodies target the underlying cause of disease, unlike current therapies such as TNF inhibitors or drugs that target IL-6 and IL-17 that “rarely restore long-term control” but nevertheless command billions of dollars in annual sales.

MiroBio’s Series A financing was co-led by Oxford Sciences Innovation and Samsara Biocapital, with Advent Life Sciences and SR One also joining the round.

According to a statement the proceeds will be used by MiroBio to “advance its lead programmes, strengthen its proprietary platform, expand its discovery efforts and build out its management team for the next phase of growth”.

For the time being MiroBio has four directors – one apiece from each of its backers – namely Srini Akkaraju of Samsara, SR One’s Debbie Harland, Advent’s Shahzad Malik and Andrew McLean of OSI.

SR One venture partner Dr Eliot Charles is acting as chair of an executive team that also includes Samsara’s operating partner Bob Stein as interim chief scientific officer. Stein is also senior R&D advisor to US biotech Agenus, having served as the company’s president of R&D between 2016 and 2017.

“MiroBio has a robust technology and the ambition to bring new medicines to patients in need of improved therapies,” said Charles.

“To help realize this goal, we have assembled a strong syndicate of leading healthcare investors who have a solid track record of creating successful biotech companies and backing world leading teams like the one we have started to build.”

MiroBio is the eighth company to spin out of Oxford University this year, following in the footsteps of other start-ups include antibiotic specialist GyreOx, DNA assembly company Lime Biosciences and others.

Figures published earlier this by the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Informa Pharma Intelligence suggested that the UK life science sector is still in good health, with plenty of fundraising, despite the continuing chaos and uncertainty around Brexit.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th October 2019

From: Research

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