New Cambridge-based spin-out secures £6 million in funding

A team led by Professor Stephen Jackson together with the University of Cambridge and Cancer Research Technology (Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm) has announced the launch of MISSION Therapeutics Ltd, with Series A funding from a top venture capital syndicate.

The new spin-out company will translate cutting-edge cell biology research on DNA repair from Professor Jackson’s laboratory at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, into drugs that will markedly improve the management of life-threatening diseases, particularly cancer. The company will be based at the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK.

The new spin-out, MISSION Therapeutics, is developing a broad platform of technologies for the discovery and development of first-in-class drugs targeting enzymes involved in cancer and other diseases. The company will predominantly exploit new and exciting research on ubiquitin pathways that control cellular responses to DNA damage.

It’s very exciting to be part of this venture to develop new drugs to improve the lives of people with cancer. Importantly… these drugs could also improve the effectiveness of existing cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and certain chemotherapies.

Professor Jackson

The company has raised £6 million in Series A funding from a strong venture capital syndicate led by Sofinnova Partners, and comprising Imperial Innovations, SR One and Roche Venture Fund.

The founding scientists of MISSION Therapeutics, which include Professor Jackson, Dr Niall Martin, Dr Xavier Jacq and Dr Keith Menear, comprise a highly successful team with extensive experience and a proven track-record in translating new scientific concepts all the way to clinical trials. Each of the founders was until recently a key scientist at KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge-based biotech company also founded by Professor Jackson.

Professor Jackson said: “It’s very exciting to be part of this venture to develop new drugs to improve the lives of people with cancer. Importantly, while having the potential to be effective by themselves, these drugs could also improve the effectiveness of existing cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and certain chemotherapies.”

Graziano Seghezzi, partner at Sofinnova, said on behalf of the investors: “Novel effective treatments for cancer remain in high demand. Mission Therapeutics, under Professor Jackson’s scientific leadership, has the potential to discover new molecularly-targeted drugs that could revolutionise the way cancer patients are treated”.

Dr Keith Blundy, CEO of Cancer Research Technology, added: “It’s fantastic that the cutting-edge science funded by Cancer Research UK can attract additional cancer drug discovery funding from commercial sources to develop exciting new treatments for cancer patients in the future.”

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