A University of Cambridge spin-out has secured £2.4 million of investment to help it develop a pipeline of antibody drug conjugate (ADC) therapies for solid tumours.
Spirea is developing ACD therapeutics for solids tumours with a high unmet need. The company has developed technology that enables more cytotoxic drug to be attached to the targeting antibody, meaning more drug can be delivered to a cancer cell. The company hopes that this will allow for more stable and tailored ADCs that can treat cancer with better efficacy and safety profiles.
ADCs combine the cell killing activity of a cytotoxic drug with the cancer targeting capability of a monoclonal antibody. Although the ADC concept has been exemplified with approved products, many ADC programmes have failed to progress through clinical development because of dose-limiting toxicities, restricted efficacy, and limitations in the range of treatable cancers.
Spirea raised the funding through a mixture of investors in the US and the UK.
Dr Myriam Ouberai, Chief Executive Officer at Spirea, said “We welcome our new investors and thank our existing investors for their continuing confidence in Spirea. With our novel approach to building ADC therapeutics, we aim to radically improve the treatment options for patients with hard-to-treat cancers. Having shown the flexibility and strength of our technology, we look forward to the next exciting stage in the development of Spirea’s ADC pipeline and to building significant strategic partnerships.”
Dr Christine Martin, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise, said: “This is an exciting time for Spirea and we are pleased to be supporting them with this further investment. Spirea’s innovative antibody drug conjugate technology is highly differentiated, and we believe it holds great value and potential to lead developments in the field of cancer therapeutics.”
Dr Jonathan Milner, Founder of Abcam and CEO of Meltwind Advisory, added: “Spirea has overcome many of the hurdles commonly associated with antibody drug conjugate therapeutics. By developing a highly customisable platform where drug payloads and targets can be altered as needed, the Company is revealing the true potential of ADCs as a cancer cell specific, highly effective therapeutic option for a wide range of cancers.”