Sanger spin-out secures $100 million
Sanger Institute spin-out company, Kymab, has secured US $100 million (£81million) series C financing today (24 November). The company is founded on genetic technologies developed at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute by Professor Allan Bradley.
Kymab is focused on discovering, developing and delivering new monoclonal antibody medicines to treat a variety of diseases. So far, the company has joined up with the Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Heptares to develop antibody-based medicines to fight infectious diseases, cancer and haematological disorders, as well as progress vaccine development for neglected diseases that affect populations in the developing world.
"Kymab is a truly innovative company that we are rightly proud of. The technology was developed at the Wellcome Sanger Institute by Professor Allan Bradley and, with the support of both the Sanger Institute and the Wellcome Trust, the enterprise has grown into a global success story, partnering with companies and organisations around the world to develop transformative medicines and approaches to many of the major diseases facing the world today.”
Adrian Ibrahim, Head of Innovation at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Professor Bradley’s team used chromosome engineering to insert the entire diversity of the B lymphocyte component of the human immune system into a genomically engineered mouse. The resulting KymouseTM has 5.4 million bases of human DNA (representing 0.1 per cent of the human genome) into the appropriate place in the mouse genome. Because of this it is able generate human monoclonal antibodies to a range of important diseases, from which Kymab is developing a range of antibody-based therapeutics.
“I am delighted that we have been able to take the first fruits of our basic research at the Sanger Institute and, with commercial support, develop it into fully-fledged technology that aims to deliver novel treatments. In 2017 the first of our human monoclonal antibodies will be starting human clinical trials.”
Professor Allan Bradley, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kymab, and Director Emeritus of the Sanger Institute
The financing was led by new investors ORI Healthcare Fund L.P. with participation by Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Co., as well as follow-on investments from existing shareholders: Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Malin Corporation plc; CF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital plc.
“We are delighted to welcome new investors ORI Fund and Hepalink and thank our existing investors for their continued support in our goal of building Kymab into a sustainable global biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of products in four main therapeutic areas: immuno-oncology; auto-immunity; haematology and infectious disease. ORI Fund and Hepalink bring deep experience of the pharmaceutical industry. Hepalink has a global reach for their products and have biologics manufacturing capability in the US. This investment will help us maximise the potential of the Kymab pipeline as we develop and commercialise monoclonal antibody medicines for patients world-wide.”
Dr Dave Chiswell, CEO of Kymab
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to invest in Kymab which is equipped with world class technologies, world class programs, a world class team and world class investors. We look forward to working with Dave and his team to fully realise the potential of Kymab as it enters into the clinic with a global presence.”
Ms Simone Song, Senior Partner of ORI Fund
“We have had a biologics strategy for a number of years and believe Kymab has one of the most comprehensive humanised transgenic antibody platforms which is already delivering first-in-class antibodies. We are pleased to invest in a world leading antibody company and look forward to potential collaborative opportunities with Kymab.”
Mr Li Li, President and Chairman of Hepalink
Antibodies are one of the best-selling classes of drugs today; five of the top ten best selling drugs are antibodies. This is because antibodies are natural products with exquisite specificity and potency, and generally have superior safety profiles. The challenge has been to capture the full human antibody repertoire and to recapitulate all its attributes.