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Cambridge Enterprise has joined in a £14 million Series A funding round into ApcinteX Limited, a University of Cambridge spin-out company developing a new therapy for haemophilia.
The round is co-led by Medicxi and Touchstone Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO). Cambridge Enterprise helped in ApcinteX’s formation, licensing key intellectual property to the company.
ApcinteX is seeking to disrupt the $10 billion haemophilia market by developing a drug that can be used in all patients, regardless of the type of haemophilia. This novel treatment is based on the work of Professor Jim Huntington (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research) and Dr Trevor Baglin (Cambridge University Hospitals), world-renowned experts in blood clotting disorders.
Around 400,000 individuals in the world are affected by haemophilia, a genetic disorder that causes uncontrolled bleeding as a result of patients having a deficiency in proteins required for normal blood clotting. Currently, the standard treatment is administration of the missing clotting factor, but this requires regular intravenous injections and is not completely effective. In addition, about one quarter of patients develop inhibitory antibodies to the administered clotting factor which renders further treatment ineffective.
Apcintex has developed a new treatment that seeks to turn down the activity of a key natural anticoagulant pathway to produce normal blood clotting in patients with haemophilia. This means that the drug could potentially treat patients with all types of haemophilia, including those who develop antibodies to replacement factors. Furthermore, the drug does not cause anti-clotting antibodies to form and could be administered fortnightly by simple injection under the skin.
Dr Baglin commented: “Bearing in mind that the majority of people in the world with haemophilia have no access to effective therapy, a stable, easily administered, long-acting, drug that can be used in all patients, regardless of the type of haemophilia, could bring treatment to a great deal many more people who suffer from haemophilia”.
Dani Bach, Director of Healthcare Ventures at Touchstone Innovations commented: “We are delighted to be supporting this funding round which is in many ways a classic example of our model: backing outstanding research which has the potential to translate into differentiated products for patients in a substantial global market. We believe that ApcinteX has the potential to provide a better alternative.”