A Rainbow Seed Fund Investment
21st April 2009
CellCentric Secures 25th Epigenetics Academic Agreement
CellCentric’s discovery network represents the single strongest commercial discovery resource in epigenetics.
Knowledge assimilation in novel targets and cell fate control mechanisms has led to deals with Pfizer as well as Takeda.
Rainbow Seed Fung investment CellCentric, the biotechnology company unlocking epigenetic control mechanisms, has further expanded its network of relationships, with an agreement covering Professors Ramin Shiekhattar and Luciano Di Croce at the Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona. The company now has ties with 25 laboratories across the world.
This is the largest innovation and discovery base of any biotech company in the field. CellCentric also works with significant institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Southern California, the Babraham Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Currently the company has six active small molecule discovery programmes and is building a portfolio of epigenetic-related supporting technologies, including screens and markers. CellCentric has prioritised these through working with the breadth of leading epigenetic researchers who it helps to identify and evaluate findings of commercial value. The company interacts closely with multiple Technology Transfer Offices to file patents and finalise licences.
CellCentric previously announced a feasibility study and option agreement with Takeda Pharmaceuticals in January 2009, where the two companies are collaborating on a novel cancer target. The company has also signed a non-exclusive evaluative and optional licence agreement to a particular screening assay in October 2008 with Pfizer Regenerative Medicine.
Commenting on the developments, Dr Will West, Chief Executive, said:
“The team at CellCentric is delighted to reinforce its discovery base with the addition of leaders of the calibre of Ramin and Luciano.
“Epigenetics is still an emerging field; breadth of scientific understanding will be key to commercial success. Our innovative business model of harnessing information from multiple world leaders has fuelled a series of highly competitive discovery programmes. The fact that we have translated this to early deals that have brought in revenue without diluting our assets, proves we are recognised to be in a dominant position in epigenetics.”
For further information contact:
CellCentric Will West Tel: + 44 (0) 1799 531 130
Rainbow Seed Fund Andrew Muir Tel: +44 (0) 7968 298 816
Financial Dynamics Juliet Clarke / Erwan Gouraud Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7831 3113
Epigenetics concerns the processes that help govern chromatin structure and function, by which cell fate is controlled. This is an emerging field that is leading to a series of novel approaches to intractable diseases, including cancer. DNA demethylases and histone deacetylases (HDACs) have pioneered the therapeutic potential of the space, but it is clear that there are many other rational targets associated with epigenetics that could have real clinical impact.
CellCentric’s business model and strategy is designed to ensure that it has the best chance of success in delivering the next wave of epigenetic targets and product candidates.
Currently CellCentric is running small molecule discovery programmes on 6 novel targets that have been prioritised from a wide pool of candidates identified through disclosures from individuals and multiple sources. Targets include methyltransferases, demethylases and ubiquitin-related enzymes. Importantly, each programme benefits from ongoing input from the leading researchers in the field.
The company also has generated a series of epigenetic-related screens and markers that cover cellular reprogramming and induced pluripotency. CellCentric was founded in 2004 with Prof Azim Surani FRS, University of Cambridge.
About Rainbow Seed Fund
The £10m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2001 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publicly funded institutions, our partners. The Fund, which is independently managed by Midven Ltd, made its first investment in 2002, and currently has a portfolio of 20 companies with one exit.
The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology’s development, and helps to turn an idea into a business by actively identifying and supporting experienced management and facilitating additional coinvestment. Rainbow's partners spend over £1 billion on research and development every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest stage.
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Last updated on: 27/08/2010