PhoreMost secures £33 million Series B investment led by BGF

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PhoreMost closes £33M ($46M) Series B financing

  • Funding to support progression of PLK1 program, for treatment of brain cancer, into the clinic within 18 months
  • Company is advancing its pipeline of novel therapies for oncology and diseases of ageing, and developing novel therapeutic modalities in the targeted protein degradation space
  • Oversubscribed investment round led by BGF, with XtalPi, Astellas Venture Management, Trend Investment Group, o2h ventures, Parkwalk Advisors, Morningside Ventures, and Jonathan Milner
  • Dr Catherine Beech appointed Chair and Tim Rea, BGF; Dr Alan Jiang, XtalPi; and Neil Pegg, Morningside Ventures, join Board of Directors

Cambridge, UK, 23 March 2021: PhoreMost Ltd., the UK-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to ‘Drugging the Undruggable®’ disease targets, today announced it has completed an oversubscribed £33m ($46m) Series B investment round. The round was led by BGF, the UK’s most active growth economy investor, and included new investors XtalPi Inc., Astellas Venture Management, Trend Investment Group, and o2h ventures. Existing investors Parkwalk Advisors, Morningside Ventures, and Jonathan Milner also contributed.

The funding will be used to progress PhoreMost’s preclinical ‘Allosteric PLK1’ collaboration with Sentinel Oncology into the clinic in 2022. The programme is initially targeted towards Glioma. PhoreMost will also progress multiple additional internal first-in-class drug discovery programmes across both oncology and ageing therapeutic indications.

PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER® platform can identify the best new therapeutic targets for any chosen disease setting, and rapidly identify how to develop novel drugs to these targets. This has the potential to significantly increase the diversity of novel treatments for cancer and other unmet diseases. Significantly, PhoreMost has recently deployed SITESEEKER towards the identification of novel E3-ligands, the progression of which has the potential to be highly disruptive within the important new targeted protein degradation therapeutic modality space.

Following the investment round, Dr Catherine Beech will assume the Chair of PhoreMost’s Board of Directors, succeeding Dr Jonathan Milner who will stay on the Board as an NED. Catherine joined PhoreMost as Non-Executive Director in February 2020. Also joining the Board are Tim Rea, investor at BGF, Alan Jiang, Chief Strategy Officer of XtalPi, and Neil Pegg representing Morningside Ventures.

PhoreMost raised £11M ($15M) in a series A round in 2018, after which the Company expanded its SITESEEKER capabilities in both target discovery and drug discovery.

Dr Chris Torrance CEO, PhoreMost, commented: 

“We are thrilled to include this exceptional group of investors in PhoreMost’s Series B funding round. We are grateful for the continued support of existing investors and are delighted to welcome BGF, alongside strategic investors XtalPi with whom we have a highly valued ongoing research collaboration, and Astellas Venture Management.

PhoreMost is at an incredibly exciting phase of development, having made tremendous progress since the Series A funding. Our lead ‘Allosteric PLK1’ asset is well positioned for clinical entry and our SITESEEKER platform has made valuable discoveries within the targeted protein degradation, oncology and ageing fields. This funding now positions PhoreMost well to prosecute asset development across these high value therapeutic areas.

I would like to thank the PhoreMost team and all of our partner organisations for helping us to achieve such excellent progress toward realising our important mission. I also welcome Catherine Beech to the PhoreMost Chair and thank our outgoing Chair Jonathan Milner for his exceptional stewardship over the past five years.”

Tim Rea, investor, BGF, said: 

The team at BGF has been actively engaged in expanding our support for life sciences companies in the UK and we are excited to join the PhoreMost team on the next phase of their journey. The Company’s SITESEEKER technology is highly differentiated, addressing an important market need in the identification of novel drug sites within targets previously considered undruggable. We have been consistently impressed with the strong and experienced management team, and we believe PhoreMost is now in an ideal position to capitalise on the potential of its lead asset and innovative pipeline.”

Dr Catherine Beech, Chair, PhoreMost, said: 

“Since joining PhoreMost’s Board I have continued to be impressed by the progress the Company has made, both in terms of its own internal programmes as well as with a range of strategic collaborations. I am honoured to be appointed as Chair and look forward to working even more closely with Chris and the team during this exciting time for PhoreMost.”

Dr Alan Jiang, CSO of XtalPi, said: 

XtalPi and PhoreMost share the same goal of addressing bottleneck challenges in biopharmaceutical research with innovative technologies. We are excited to support PhoreMost in fulfilling its mission and further strengthen the collaboration between our platforms with complementary capabilities. PhoreMost’s expertise in identifying and validating valuable novel targets, combined with XtalPi’s advantage in using AI to discover and design drug molecules for challenging biding sites, will allow us to generate pipeline assets more efficiently, particularly in underserved therapeutic areas, to the ultimate benefit of patients with few or no treatment options.”

Alastair Kilgour, Chief Investment Officer, Parkwalk Advisors, said: 

“PhoreMost’s technology has the potential to significantly increase the diversity of novel therapeutics for cancer and other unmet diseases, where treatment options are currently severely limited, and therefore improve the lives of millions suffering with untreated conditions. Since our original investment we have been impressed by the whole PhoreMost team, who have gone from strength to strength. It made perfect sense for us to follow on that original investment and help them accelerate, grow, and continue to meet this important challenge.” 


Notes to editors:

Media enquiries

Katie Odgaard

Zyme Communications
E-mail: [email protected]

About PhoreMost Ltd

PhoreMost has developed a next-generation phenotypic screening platform called SITESEEKER® that can discern the best new targets for future therapy and crucially, how to drug them, which has the potential to significantly increase the diversity and affordability of novel therapeutics for cancer and other unmet diseases. Based on the Company’s core proprietary ‘Protein Interference’ technology, SITESEEKER® systematically unmasks cryptic druggable sites across the entire human genome and directly links them to useful therapeutic functions in a live-cell context. Using this platform, PhoreMost is building a pipeline of novel drug discovery programmes aimed at addressing a range of unmet diseases.  

About BGF

  • BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested £2.5 billion in nearly 400 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK.  
  • BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs. 
  • BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 14 offices.   
  • In 2018, Canada launched its equivalent – the Canadian Business Growth Fund – and in 2019, Australia did the same, both based on BGF’s funding model. 

Social media: @BGFinvestments 

About XtalPi

XtalPi is a pharmaceutical technology company that is reinventing the industry’s approach to drug research and development with its Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development (ID4) platform. With tightly interwoven quantum physics, artificial intelligence, and high-performance cloud computing algorithms, XtalPi’s ID4 platform provides accurate predictions on the physicochemical and pharmaceutical properties of small-molecule candidates for drug design, solid-form selection, and other critical aspects of drug development. XtalPi is dedicated to improving the efficiency, accuracy, and success rate of drug research and development, and contributing to a healthier society worldwide.

Founded in 2014 by a group of quantum physicists at MIT, XtalPi has since built an elite team with multi-disciplinary expertise in physics, chemistry, pharmaceutical R&D, and algorithm design. XtalPi’s cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, and diverse applications across the pharmaceutical value chain have helped it gain industry approval and establish strategic partnerships with top international pharmaceutical companies.

About Parkwalk

Parkwalk has been the UK’s most active investor in world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions over the past five years. It currently has £300 million of assets under management, and has invested in over 120 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol. Parkwalk offers investors and partners access to a unique and diverse deal pipeline. Investing from pre-seed through to later stage, these knowledge-intensive technologies are well tested and IP-protected, sitting at the cutting edge of innovation and creating solutions to real-world challenges.  

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