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Morphogen-IX Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge focused on the development of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), today announced completion of a £18.4 million ($23.2 million) round of financing. The Series B was led by Medicxi, alongside investments from Cambridge Enterprise and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

This investment will support formal preclinical development of the company’s lead candidate, MGX292, and initiation of clinical trials by 2021. MGX292 is a protein-engineered variant of BMP9 that has proven highly efficacious and safe in extensive preclinical studies. MGX292 is the first agent with the potential to be truly disease-modifying and to transform the lives of patients with PAH, a rare but devastating disease in which the blood vessels in the lung narrow and close so raising the blood pressure in the lungs. Ultimately this process leads to heart failure and death. In many patients the disease has a genetic cause that reduces the protective function of the native BMP9 protein in the blood.

“This major investment, following closely on the nomination of MGX292 as our drug candidate, will support the critical next steps of preclinical development and take us all the way through to completion of Phase 2 studies over the next 3-4 years. MGX292 has major disease-modifying capability that is badly needed for patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension.”

Nick Morrell, CEO, Morphogen-IX


“The power of human genetics identifying the centrality of BMP9 in PAH, together with structure-driven engineering to create a protein that can be administered safely, places Morphogen-IX in a world-leading position to develop the first agent capable of halting, or even reversing, the progress of this terrible disease.  We are working with many of world’s leading experts in PAH to get MGX292, already the subject of patent applications, into the clinic as quickly as possible.”

David Grainger, Chairman of the Morphogen-IX Board and Chief Scientific Advisor at Medicxi


“MGX292 has the potential to transform the outlook for patients with PAH. We look forward to executing the next phases of development as efficiently and quickly as possible.”

Kevin Johnson, Partner at Medici


“CIC is delighted to continue to support Morphogen-IX, a company built on the world-leading science of Professor Morrell and his team, to translate this potentially transformative medicine into the clinic.”

Robert Tansley, Operating Partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital


“It is exciting to see outstanding and impactful research spun-out from the University of Cambridge taking a step closer to bringing a therapeutic benefit to patients.”

Anne Dobrée, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise


The full release is available here.