Mogrify subsidiary Chondrogenix secures funding from SBRI

Healthcare to advance regenerative cartilage therapy to the clinic Chondrogenix will use Mogrify’s data-driven conversion platform to generate a safe, efficient and scalable source of cartilage cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis


Cambridge, UK, 1 st April 2019: Chondrogenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mogrify Ltd (Mogrify), a UK company aiming to transform the future development of cell therapies, today announced that it has secured funding from SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England funded initiative championed by the AHSN Network, to develop a safe, efficient and scalable source of therapeutic cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

The Mogrify Platform (Rackham et al., Nature Genetics, 2016) has been used by Chondrogenix to successfully convert multiple starting cell types to functional chondrocytes capable in vitro of spontaneously forming cartilage, and this funding will support the partnering of this asset to take it through the remaining pre-clinical stages before entering clinical trials.

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease of synovial joints resulting in the breakdown of articular cartilage and bone and is the most common joint disorder, affecting more than 30 million adults in the United States* alone. Current treatments only focus on addressing the symptoms, for instance, pain or inflammation, and in some cases result in total joint replacement.

Following on from a proof-of-concept study, Chondrogenix is using a cocktail of small molecules (identified by the Mogrify Platform) to transdifferentiate several different starting cell types, directly sourced from diseased patients, into functional hyaline chondrocytes to ultimately be used in the clinic to enhance the already approved Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) therapy and create additional allogeneic and in vivo reprograming therapies. Chondrogenix will apply for the Phase 2 funding from SBRI Healthcare for £1 million GBP, which will support the progression of the Company’s lead asset into the clinic.

Dr Wael Kafienah, PhD, Director, Chondrogenix and Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol, said: “After several years of research in collaboration with Mogrify, it is great to see our transdifferentiated cartilage cells gain commercial traction from grants such as the SBRI Healthcare and (pre-)clinical partners.”

Pierre-Louis Joffrin, Corporate Development Executive, Mogrify, said: “Having started from various cell types, the produced chondrocytes are displaying all of the markers necessary for use as both autologous and allogeneic therapies which would represent a huge advancement in the standard of care of osteoarthritis. We are speaking with a number of commercial partners and clinical development specialists, and our focus is on bringing a new therapy to market to improve the lives of osteoarthritis
patients.”

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rackham OJL et al. A predictive computational framework for direct reprogramming between human cell types. Nature Genetics. 2016 Mar;48(3):331-5. doi: 10.1038/ng.3487. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

For further information please contact:

Mogrify
Pierre-Louis Joffrin
Email: pierre@mogrify.co.uk
Zyme Communications
Lorna Cuddon
Tel: +44 (0)7811 996 942
E-mail: lorna.cuddon@zymecommunications.com

Mogrify has developed a proprietary direct cellular conversion technology, which makes it possible to transform (transmogrify) any mature human cell type into any other without going through a pluripotent stem cell- or progenitor cell-state.

The platform takes a systematic big-data approach to identify, from next-generation sequencing and gene-regulatory networks, the transcription factors (in vitro) or small molecules (in vivo), needed to convert a cell. By bypassing the stem cell-stage of cell transformation, Mogrify simultaneously addresses challenges associated with efficacy, safety and scalability.

Mogrify is applying its patented technology to generate IP and cell types that will power the development and manufacture of new cell therapies across every therapeutic area. Uniquely positioned to address a cell therapy market estimated to be $35 billion USD by 2023, Mogrify is commercializing its technology via IP licensing, product development, and drug development. Based in Cambridge, UK, the Company has raised $3.7 million USD seed funding from Ahren Innovation Capital, 24Haymarket and Dr Darrin M Disley, OBE.

Follow Mogrify on Twitter @Mogrify_UK and LinkedIn @Mogrify

About Chondrogenix www.chondrogenix.com

Chondrogenix is a private biotechnology company based in the UK. Our founders are experts in cell engineering, bioinformatics and computational genomics and founded the company with the mission of revolutionizing the way that cell reprograming is utilized in osteoarthritis.

The company’s unique combination of skills has allowed us to find ways to precisely control the cellular fate of chondrocytes. We are using this knowledge to pioneer a novel first-in-class cartilage regenerative medicine. This new data-driven approach to the field of regenerative medicine allows us to find optimal treatment strategies without the need for costly trial and error optimization.

About SBRI Healthcare

www.sbrihealthcare.co.uk
SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, led by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), who aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.


Metrion Biosciences raises investment

Metrion Biosciences Closes Funding Round
• Includes investment from o2h Ventures Therapeutics Fund
• Funding to support expansion of ion channel screening capabilities and continued research into potential drugs for auto-immune diseases

Cambridge, UK, 01 April 2019: Metrion Biosciences Ltd (“Metrion”), the specialist ion channel contract research and drug discovery company, announced today that it has completed a fully subscribed funding round on 14 March. Metrion will use the funds to support the broadening of its ion channel screening capabilities, and continued research into novel Kv1.3 inhibitors for the treatment of auto-immune conditions.

The new equity investment round was led by the recently launched o2h Ventures Therapeutics Fund, acting via Reyker Securities plc, and supported by existing shareholders. The o2h Ventures fund invests in early stage biotech therapeutic and related AI opportunities in the UK and focusses, in particular, on emerging companies in the growing Cambridge biotech cluster.

Keith McCullagh, Metrion’s chairman, said: “We are pleased to welcome both o2h Ventures Therapeutics Fund as a new shareholder and Sunil Shah, Managing Partner of o2h Ventures Ltd as an observer on the Metrion board.”

Sunil Shah, Managing Partner, o2h Ventures, commented: “We recognise the ion
channel biology space as a potentially very valuable source of new drug targets,
which is generating a great interest with pharma companies. The Metrion team has
deep expertise, and the Company is emerging as a global leader in ion channel drug
discovery.”

Contacts
For Metrion
Katie Odgaard
Zyme Communications
E-mail: katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947

Keith McCullagh PhD
Chairman, Metrion Biosciences
E-mail: keith.mccullagh@metrionbiosciences.com
For o2h Ventures
Ajit Singh Guller
Marketing and PR, o2h Ventures Ltd
E-mail: ajit@o2h.com

About Metrion Biosciences.
Metrion Biosciences is a specialist ion channel contract research organisation and drug discovery business. The Company provides customers with access to a range of high quality ion channel assays on a fee-for-service or collaboration basis. Metrion Biosciences’ specialist ion channel expertise includes an industry leading panel of in vitro cardiac ion channel safety assays, translational native cell and phenotypic assays for neurological and cardiotoxicity testing, and a range of other ion channel screening services such as cell line development and optimisation. Metrion Biosciences is able to provide tailored assay formats, data analysis and reporting solutions, effective project management and quality assured data packages.

For more information, see: www.metrionbiosciences.com

About o2h Ventures
o2h Ventures Limited has launched the o2h Therapeutics and AI fund, which is the first S/EIS fund in the UK solely focused on early stage biotech therapeutics and related AI opportunities. The geographic scope shall be UK wide including Oxford and London but will target the growing Cambridge biotech cluster. The fund is structured to be S/EIS compliant providing tax breaks for UK taxpayers.

The biotech sector is one of the leading sectors in the UK economy. The large pharma companies now rely on the small innovative biotechs’ for new ideas in disease areas such as cancer, genomics, anti-ageing and neurosciences amongst others which has led to higher potential exit valuations. The fund will widen the community of investors that will help expand early stage research in the UK.

The o2h team are leaders in the biotech community and have been actively involved as investors, holding various board/industry positions as well as being engaged in grassroots scientific activity for over 20 years. o2h operate from their proprietary 2.7 acre o2h SciTech Park where they are developing a unique model for incubating small life science companies.

More information is available here: www.o2h.com/ventures

Inivata Completes £39.8m Series B Funding Round led by RT Ventures

Funds will accelerate commercialization of InVisionFirst-Lung Liquid Biopsy test and the development of the InVision® liquid biopsy platform into new indications

Research Triangle Park, NC and Cambridge, UK, March 28, 2019 — Inivata, a leader in liquid biopsy, today announces the completion of a Series B fundraising of $52.6m (£39.8 million).

Existing investors Woodford Patient Capital Trust, IP Group, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC all participated in the round alongside new investor RT Ventures. The first close of the financing occurred in August 2018, with the final tranche of the over-subscribed round being received in March 2019, based on strong delivery against corporate milestones.

The funds will be used to advance the US commercial roll-out of the Company’s InVisionFirst™-Lung liquid biopsy test, which recently received coverage determination for US Medicare patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), paving the way for the test to be used in routine clinical care. This liquid biopsy test uses a simple blood draw to detect clinically relevant cancer mutations to provide molecular insights relevant to that patient. InVisionFirst-Lung is commercially available in the US.

The Series B financing will also enable the Company to accelerate the development of the InVision® liquid biopsy platform into new indications to drive the future growth of the Company.

Clive Morris, Chief Executive Officer at Inivata, said: “This Series B financing allows us to commercialize our lead product in patients with advanced lung cancer, following our positive reimbursement decision. We also have an exciting portfolio of future products that will be advanced in parallel to maximize the benefits of our industry-leading InVision Liquid Biopsy platform to patients. We are grateful to our existing investors for their continued support and are delighted to welcome RT Ventures to our already strong investor base. With these funds in place, we look forward to continuing our mission to transform the lives of cancer patients through the power of liquid biopsy.”

About Inivata
Inivata is a leader in liquid biopsy. Its InVision® platform unlocks essential genomic information from a simple blood test to transform the care of cancer patients. The Company’s technology is based on pioneering research from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge and reinforced by multiple high calibre publications. Its lead product, InVisionFirst™-Lung, is commercially available and provides molecular insights that enable clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions for NSCLC patients. Inivata is partnering with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on InVisionFirst™-Lung and its wider platform, which is applicable to a range of cancer types. The Company has a CLIA laboratory in Research Triangle Park, NC and laboratories in Cambridge, UK. For more information, please go to www.inivata.com. Follow us on Twitter @Inivata.

Media Contacts:
Consilium Strategic Communications
Chris Gardner/Angela Gray/Sarah Wilson
inivata@consilium-comms.com +44 (0)20 3709 5700

Karen Chandler-Smith
karen.chandler-smith@inivata.com +44 (0)7900 430235

Investor Contact:
LifeSci Advisors
Bob Yedid
bob@lifesciadvisors.com +1 646-597-6989

Oxford Genetics secures £6.5 million Series A investment from Mercia, Canaccord Genuity and Invesco Asset Management

Mercia Technologies PLC (AIM: MERC), the national investment group focused on the identification, creation, funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high-growth potential from the UK regions, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Oxford Genetics Limited (“Oxford Genetics”), has received £6.5million of new investment in a syndicated round comprising Canaccord Genuity Limited (“Canaccord”) (formerly Hargreave Hale), Invesco Asset Management Limited (“Invesco”) and Mercia. Mercia invested £0.4million as part of the new funding round which now values Oxford Genetics at an undiluted, post-money valuation of £30.5million.

Today’s announcement, which results in Mercia’s direct equity stake reducing to 33.3% (from 40.5%), follows the RNS Reach issued on 28 February 2019 confirming six new licensing deals, further highlighting the considerable commercial progress that Oxford Genetics is making in the rapidly expanding biotechnology sector.

Oxford Genetics operates in the synthetic biology market providing world leading technologies and advanced techniques for drug and gene therapy development. The world’s first biologic, insulin, was brought to the market in the early 1980s and today approximately 20% of all treatments are biologics, with over a quarter of new therapeutics approved in the US in 2017 being biologics. This demonstrates the highly progressive nature of this expanding sector.

Grown from the foundations of patented DNA engineering methods, and with 10 patent families covering its diverse technology portfolio, Oxford Genetics now offers a suite of novel solutions for gene therapy drug discovery, antibody therapy development and CRISPR gene editing.

Ryan Cawood, Founder and CEO of Oxford Genetics, said: “This significant investment round will enable Oxford Genetics to further secure its market-leading position in the expanding fields of CRISPR, gene therapy and antibody engineering. Through our continued investment in automation and optimising our commercialisation strategy, we aim to maximise shareholder value and exceed our ambitious growth targets.

Throughout our journey, Mercia’s investment model has been pivotal to Oxford Genetics’ current success. The ability to leverage capital and continued support from Mercia via seed stage through to later investment rounds has enabled us to attract excellent syndicate investors onto our share register. We are excited to welcome Canaccord Genuity onto our share register alongside Invesco Asset Management and look forward to working with all of our investors to grow the business over the coming years.” 

Dr Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Mercia Technologies and a non-executive director of Oxford Genetics, said: “We have backed Oxford Genetics since day one, working closely with Ryan who has built both an impressive team and a highly scalable business model. Full year revenue to April 2019 is set to achieve c.300% growth on last year and the additional investment announced today will continue to facilitate this growth, as Oxford Genetics moves from an important domestic business to a global player in this specialist field of biotech.”