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NCL Innovation announces investment in Centauri Therapeutics

Posted on 07.03.2016

NCL Innovation, the UK’s leading early stage technology investor, has joined a financing round for Centauri Therapeutics Ltd.

The investment was made via NCL’s early stage venture vehicle, the Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund (DPTIF). The investment round will enable Centauri Therapeutics to develop its leading “Alphamer” platform targeting Anti-Microbial Resistant (AMR) pathogens at its base at Discovery Park, and also exploit the technology within the field of immune-oncology, via a new industrial joint venture.

Over the next 30 years, the World Health Organisation predict that deaths from AMR pathogens will exceed deaths from cancer. The widespread use of antibiotics both in humans and animals has led to a prevalence of superbugs including strains of Pseudomonas and E. coli that are resistant to common antibiotics.

Centauri’s technology addresses a significant unmet medical need in infectious diseases by employing a process called ‘programmable immunity’, whereby pre-existing antibodies can be re-directed to a target with the use of molecules termed ‘Alphamers’.

Alphamers exploit an entirely new selective mechanism of action when compared to existing anti-infective therapeutics. The Alphamer platform involves binding a specific immune activating sugar to the AMR pathogen and was invented by Kary Mullis – the Nobel Prize winner responsible for inventing PCR – a cornerstone of the drug discovery landscape.

As an immediate validation of the technology’s potential, Centauri have also announced this week that it has signed a Joint Venture (JV) agreement with Horizon Plc to exploit the Centauri technology within the rapidly growing immune-oncology market, currently valued at £25bn. Horizon will make an initial investment of £5.3m and will also contribute its gene editing platform and oncology expertise to the JV, which shall be called Avvinity Therapeutics.

Jerry Biggs, CEO of NCL Innovation said:

“We are delighted to join the investment round for Centauri Therapeutics, via the Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund.

“Working alongside companies such as Horizon Plc will give Centauri the best chance of bringing this game changing technology to market, potentially helping to save thousands of lives within the next generation. Mike Westby, CEO Centauri Theraperutics, said:

“Support from the Discovery Park Technology Investment Fund has been key to securing the Discovery Park site as our R&D Headquarters.

As Pharmaceutical Companies reduced their footprint in the UK, a large pool of highly experienced scientists have become available to young Biotech companies such as ours. Discovery Park provides the ideal environment for experienced teams to translate innovation into novel medicines.”

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