Funding from Deepbridge Capital, Innovate UK and Scottish Investment Bank will support development of next generation Ophthalmology biologics
Thursday, 16 March 2017: Aberdeen, Scotland: Elasmogen Ltd, developer of soloMERTM biologics, today announced that it has received a Biomedical Catalyst Grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK and matching investment from Deepbridge Capital and Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise) totalling £1.2 M. The funding will be used to develop ELN-21 and ELN-22, the companies’ next generation biologics for topical treatment of ocular disease.
Current treatments for ocular diseases such as uveitis and macular degeneration require either systemic dosing or direct injection into the eye. soloMERs are Elasmogen’s proprietary humanized versions of shark VNARs, the smallest naturally occurring binding domains. The small size (11 kDa) and highly robust nature of soloMERs make them ideal for delivering topically applied sight saving therapies while reducing systemic side effects and eliminating the need for injections.
“We have recently completed our proof of concept trials demonstrating the ability to deliver therapeutic concentrations of soloMERs to the back of the eye by topical delivery,” said Elasmogen CEO Caroline Barelle. “Winning the Biomedical Catalyst grant along with the new investment will allow us to build on these results and prepare our anti-inflammatory and anti-autoimmune soloMERs for phase 1 clinical trials.”
“Use of corticosteroids for treatment of ocular inflammation carries the risk of significant side effects including glaucoma and cataracts,” said John Forrester Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, The Lions Eye Institute, Australia and University of Aberdeen, Scotland. “A fast acting, topically applied biologic that can reach all parts of the eye would provide significant benefit to uveitis and other ocular disease patients.”
Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank said, “We are pleased to be able to support Elasmogen, initially through our High-Growth Spinout Programme which helps researchers to take their ideas and inventions from the lab to the global marketplace, and now through matched investment from the Scottish Venture Fund. The company has made significant technical progress in a short space of time and its sight-saving auto-immune therapies have the potential to make a notable social, as well as commercial, impact. We look forward to working with Deepbridge Capital to further support and nurture the exciting opportunity presented by Elasmogen.”
Company Contact: Caroline Barelle, CEO, Elasmogen. Tel. 01224 438545; mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Spun-out from the University of Aberdeen, Elasmogen is developing soloMERs: fully humanized, next generation, single chain therapeutics for auto-inflammatory diseases, ophthalmology, oncology and intracellular delivery. soloMERs are proprietary humanized clinical candidates derived from VNARS (variable new-antigen receptors) which exist naturally in sharks as high affinity binding domains. With a different ancestral origin from antibodies this example of 400 million year old convergent evolution places VNARs outside of the complex patent landscape that describes and protects antibody drug discovery and has produced the smallest (9% of the size of an antibody) and most robust naturally occurring binding domain. Elasmogen is unique in its capacity to isolate and develop soloMERs, with a multi-layered IP position covering the platform, products and process including an exclusive license to over 20 patents granted in the US, Europe and other territories together with the entire know-how and VNAR pipeline/product output from the Scottish Biologics Facility, University of Aberdeen.
The company is using its expertise in early and later-stage pre-clinical development to rapidly advance a series of new locally delivered protein products against auto-inflammatory diseases, with an initial focus on ophthalmology. In addition, Elasmogen is collaborating with a number of high quality biopharma partners to maximise the full therapeutic opportunities that its technology provides. These collaborations are focussed on the delivery of soloMERs directly into cells using either receptor mediated or facilitated passive entry including active programs in (i) the development of novel soloMER-drug-conjugates (SDC) through site-specific conjugation of warhead to soloMER generating small, soluble effective drugs capable of cell internalisation, increased tumour penetration and cell killing and (ii) the intracellular localisation of novel soloMERs into cells and cell compartments, bypassing receptor mediated endocytosis and opening up a whole new class of disease targets for biologics.
About Deepbridge Capital:
Deepbridge Capital LLP, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Deepbridge is a different kind of investment manager. Deepbridge works closely with financial advisers and investors to design innovative products, ranging from investment in technology growth companies to asset-backed renewable energy projects. Deepbridge partners with innovative and committed management teams to help UK based companies realise their potential and become successful leading-edge businesses.
About Scottish Investment Bank: The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It manages a suite of co- investment funds including the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund, which are partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). SIB also manages the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the Scottish Recycling Fund. SIB is the cornerstone investor in the privately-managed Scottish Loan Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners and an investor in Epidarex Capital’s life sciences fund. These investment funds support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital. SIB also provides a team of financial readiness specialists to help companies prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.