The merger will be supported by a new funding round of £3.6m, led by Innovations and supported by Invesco Perpetual, which invested £1.5m in Myotec in March 2010, and by Mercia Fund, a founding investor in Hybrid. Following the new investment, Innovations will hold 41% of PsiOxus Therapeutics.
The new funds will be used to develop a pipeline of therapeutic treatments for cancer and wasting diseases, helping to advance two particularly promising treatments, Myotec’s MT-102 and Hybrid’s ColoAd1, through phase I and II clinical development.
Innovations has supported the work of Myotec since it was founded in 2006 to commercialise the work of Imperial College scientists Prof. Andrew Coats (now Professor at Large, University of East Anglia Medical School) and Prof. Stefan Anker (now Professor of Cardiology and Cachexia Research at Charité Medical School, Berlin). Prof. Anker is also President of the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Diseases.
Having been instrumental in the launch of Myotec and the recruitment of its management team, Innovations board representatives Maina Bhaman and Simon Kerr worked closely with chief executive John Beadle and chairman Michael Moore to merge the company with Hybrid, leading due diligence and ensuring the continuing support of the founding investors.
The merger with Hybrid adds significant expertise in genetic medicine and viral therapeutics through founder scientists Prof Len Seymour, Chair of Gene Medicine at Oxford University and Secretary General of the European Society for Gene and Stem Cell Therapy, and Dr Kerry Fisher – an internationally recognized specialist in molecular medicine, also of Oxford University.
Hybrid directors Mark Payton (Mercia Fund) and Phil L’Huillier (Cancer Research Technologies) will join the PsiOxus board, together with Charles Swingland as an independent director.
PsiOxus will initially focus on the advancement of MT-102 and ColoAd1 through clinical trials. Developed by Myotec, MT-102 is a dual action Anabolic Catabolic Transforming Agent (ACTA) in phase II clinical development for the treatment of cachexia, a wasting disease that is the direct cause of death in 20 to 40 percent of all cancer patients.
Hybrid’s ColoAd1 is a unique oncolytic virus developed using the evolutionary principle of natural selection to generate a virus with optimal anti-cancer properties. ColoAd1 is an extremely potent anti-cancer therapeutic with high selectivity for killing cancer cells but which shows little or no activity on normal tissue.
As well as advancing MT-102 and ColoAd1 through phase I and II clinical development, PsiOxus will also use the new funds to develop novel drug candidates derived from the PsiOxus platform technologies.
Dr Michael Moore, Chairman of PsiOxus said:
“Innovations has helped us bring together all of the key elements for a successful therapeutic development company, including talented teams with world-leading scientists, complementary technology platforms and experienced investors.
“As a combined entity, we have the clinical trials expertise among our scientific founders to develop promising new therapeutics to treat cancer and other serious diseases. We now look forward to advancing this product pipeline through the clinical stages ahead.”
Susan Searle, chief executive of Imperial Innovations, said:
“The formation of PsiOxus Therapeutics represents powerful combination of skills and experience that broadens the scientific and commercial possibilities beyond what was possible for Myotec and Hybrid working on their own.
“Innovations has brought together a world-class team of researchers that will benefit from the additional funding we have provided and we are confident they will deliver new and valuable treatments for the global diseases they are working to cure.”