Ty­coons fund biotech firm out to rev­o­lu­tionise cancer treat­ment

The Herald - - TELEVISION - Pic­ture: Colin Tem­ple­ton

KEVIN SCOTT

gene ther­apy de­liv­ery sys­tem LipTide, which was ini­tially de­vel­oped by Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don.

He said there was no timetable for the ac­qui­si­tion but that a seven-fig­ure in­vest­ment would likely be re­quired in the fu­ture.

“The ac­qui­si­tion is agreed but not yet ac­tioned so at some point we will re­quire fur­ther fund­ing. The im­pli­ca­tion is that it is good to have share­hold­ers who have a his­tory of wealth,” he said.

Mr Walker added that LipTide gave the busi­ness a po­ten­tial rev­enue stream.

“To be quite frank, it’s been tough try­ing to raise money through tra­di­tional sources,” he said. “We don’t have ven­ture cap­i­tal money, which is why we place the em­pha­sis on high net worth in­di­vid­u­als. But if we can make LipTide a com­mer­cial success we can be­come cash flow pos­i­tive and the need for eq­uity fund­ing goes down, if not goes away.”

The cur­rent £1.8m round, led by ex­ist­ing back­ers, busi­ness an­gel group TRI Cap­i­tal and Scot­tish In­vest­ment Bank, will be used to ac­cel­er­ate prod­uct devel­op­ment and fi­nance cor­po­rate ex­pan­sion.

Mr Walker said clin­i­cal tri­als of its Ry­bo­quin ECP-102 prod­uct, cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped with Strath­clyde Univer­sity, will take place in 2019, with Manch­ester’s Christie hospi­tal the likely venue.

Ry­bo­quin ECP-102 aims to rad­i­cally im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of chemo­ther­apy, by util­is­ing LipTide, a mi­cro­scopic par­ti­cle which de­liv­ers RNA (Ri­bonu­cleic acid) to af­fected cells. RNA is one of four ma­jor macro­molecules, along with DNA, which are es­sen­tial for all known forms of life.

“When the hu­man genome was cracked, we thought we had the so­lu­tion to all these ge­netic dis­eases, but you couldn’t de­liver the ge­netic ma­te­rial to the right place and only the right place, so this great prom­ise was not re­alised,” said Mr Thom­son. “Nanogen­ics’ prod­uct solves that prob­lem and ac­tu­ally de­liv­ers the ge­netic ma­te­rial.”

Lead­ing busi­ness fig­ure Brian Kennedy has joined the board of Selkirk-based Ry­bo­quin.

Cur­rently, there are be­lieved to be some 8,000 dis­eases caused by mu­ta­tions in genes, from cys­tic fi­bro­sis to can­cers. And de­vel­op­ing a drug de­liv­ery sys­tem that can treat such dis­eases on a tar­geted cel­lu­lar level has be­come one of the big­gest pur­suits in global biotech­nol­ogy.

“This is what ge­netic medicine has been wait­ing for all these years; if you can af­fect spe­cific genes and change [a pa­tient’s] ge­netic make-up, you’re look­ing at a revo­lu­tion­ary treat­ment”.

Mr Walker said the com­pany was in dis­cus­sions with global phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies to pro­mote LipTide. He has re­cently re­turned from a trade show in Cal­i­for­nia where he held meet­ings with 36 po­ten­tial part­ners.

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