Absynth is a UK biotechnology spinout company from the University of Sheffield. It has developed a distinctive, non-conventional approach to developing vaccines and therapeutic antibodies based on identifying novel, conserved bacterial antigens that are essential and also antibody-accessible. Bacterial infections are a major cause of death worldwide, with microbial drug resistance being a significant contributing factor.
Lead programmes undertaken by Absynth target Staphylococcus aureus including its drug-resistant form MRSA, against which vaccines and antibodies of other companies have failed to show clinical efficacy – Absynth’s approach has the potential to succeed where others have previously failed.
Absynth’s novel antigens offer broad potential against a range of bacterial infections and form the basis of the company’s pipeline that includes vaccines to prevent Clostridium difficile and Streptococcus pyogenes infections.
Absynth will use the investment to advance the Staphylococcus aureus programme to key pre-clinical milestones. The investment will also complement funding secured from the Biomedical Catalyst – a funding stream administered by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to further develop Absynth’s product pipeline. This brings the total awarded to Absynth since 2012 to £175,000 in two grants from the TSB.
The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, is investing £400,000 and Fusion IP is investing £450,000. Post–funding, Fusion will own a 42.84% equity shareholding in Absynth.
The North West Fund for Biomedical is part of the wider £155m North West Fund, financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
Fiona Marston, Chief Executive of Absynth Biologics, said:
“I am delighted to have the support of our new investor The North West Fund for Biomedical and the ongoing support of our existing shareholder Fusion IP. This investment will fund exciting stages of development for Absynth’s S. aureus vaccine and pipeline R&D programmes."
Dr Penny Attridge, senior investment director at SPARK Impact and manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said:
”We hope that this funding will help Absynth Biologics to continue to excel and further develop its products to make a real difference in targeting infectious diseases. We’re delighted to make this investment into such a forward thinking company which is clearly passionate about combating infectious diseases.”
Peter Grant, Operations Director for Fusion IP and Absynth’s chairman, said:
“We very much look forward to developing Absynth with our new investor, the North West Fund, to create a very exciting range of products in infectious diseases. The Absynth team are highly motivated and complemented by industry specific non-executive directors, all of whom work together to combat the very concerning threat of drug resistant bacteria.”