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BGF announces investment in North West life sciences business Kinomica

BGF News 12.14.2020
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North West-based proteomic-data science and diagnostics company, Kinomica, has secured £3.9 million in funding for pioneering technology that could prove integral to the development of new drug treatments.

KScan™, a next-generation biomarker and molecular diagnostics platform, has been designed to aid the development of kinase inhibitor drugs for treating cancer patients and other conditions. It can be utilised at every stage of the drug development process; from generating novel drug targets, to investigating drug resistance and classifying patients for clinical trials. Kinomica has already secured commercial agreements with several blue-chip pharma companies including AstraZeneca.

The investment marks a major milestone for Kinomica and the KScan™ platform, with BGF and Longwall Venture Partners LLP (Longwall Ventures) investing £1.5 million, respectively. Additional funding of £900,000 was secured via seed investors, including BioCity, Alderley Park Ventures, and Puffin Point, a family office in London.

The investment will be used to finance the rapid up-scale of operations – including facilities and equipment – to deliver a pipeline of projects.

Jane Theaker, CEO at Kinomica, said of the investment: “This marks a huge step forward for Kinomica and for KScan™, as we look to the future of cancer treatment. Our pioneering technology offers much-needed support for the development of new precision medicines and represents a new approach to drug trials and treatments that will have a huge impact on patients’ lives. We are enormously grateful to our investors for their support as we look to a new era of research and development in the battle against cancer and other disease areas where an understanding of cell signalling is important.”

For BGF, the deal was led by Rhys Davenport, an investor in the North West team, life sciences lead Tim Rea, and Jonathan Earl, who led BGF’s 2019 investment in BioCity Group and is an investor in BGF’s Midlands team. To date, BGF has invested more than £100 million in 30 life sciences business across the UK.

Rhys Davenport of BGF’s North West team, said: “Kinomica is a phenomenal example of early-stage life sciences innovation based in the North West. The business’ technology has the potential to provide insights to its pharma customer-base which help to identify drug targets, personalise treatments and develop diagnostics, that will transform patient outcomes. Led by CEO Jane Theaker, the business is at a stage in its journey where this injection of capital could unlock significant growth.”

Founded in 2016, Kinomica was borne out of the work of Dr Pedro Cutillas – Professor of Cell Signalling and Proteomics – and his colleagues of the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London. The organisation has plans to recruit a further 11 staff and two additional consultants by June 2021.

The kinase inhibitor market is one of the world’s foremost categories of chemotherapy medicine. There are currently 150 kinase inhibitor drugs undergoing clinical trials globally, and thousands in the preclinical stage, offering hope to patients worldwide in the fight against cancer.

Kinases are a class of enzymes in living things that promote phosphorylation; specific, misdirected kinase activity can contribute to the growth of cancer and other disease processes. Kinase inhibitors are administered to stop certain kinases as chemotherapies for cancer to slow the proliferation of malignant cells or to block disease processes, with KScan™ offering vital insights that will improve the response to drug treatments.