£38m investment in university spin-out could lead to drugs of the future

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MILLIONS of pounds have been invested into a biopharmaceutical company in what is being hailed as one of the largest investments of its kind in Scotland. 

£38m of financing has been announced by Amphista Therapeutics, a University of Dundee spin-out company.

The company says the proceeds will allow the firm to produce drugs of the future and allow new treatments for a broad range of diseases with high eficacy and reduced potential for drug resistance.

Alessio Ciulli FRSC, Life Sciences, Mike Ferguson, SLS - Research News Scotland
(University of Dundee) Professors Alessio Ciulli (L) and Sir Mike Ferguson (R)

Amphista is a biopharmaceutical company creating first-in-class therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins.

The company is a spinout from Professor Alessio Ciulli’s labs at the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences.

The £38 million Series B financing round is one of the largest investments of this kind to be made in Scotland.

The company has said the proceeds will be used to accelerate the company’s growing pipeline of “potent and selective bifunctional molecules, known as ‘Amphistas’, to the clinic and to extend its proprietary next-generation targeted protein degradation (TPD) platform.”

Amphista are claiming the funding could me they could produce drugs of the future that will efficiently remove disease-causing proteins from human cells and allow new treatments for a broad range of diseases with high efficacy and reduced potential for drug resistance.

University of Dundee logo - Research News Scotland
Amphista Therapeutics, a University of Dundee spinout company, has announced a near-£40 million investment

Professor Ciulli, the scientific founder of Amphista therapeutics, welcomed the investment, saying: “My lab’s work at Dundee over the last eight years is recognised as world-leading in the field of TPD, which is providing an entirely new way of tackling diseases.

“As a co-founder of Amphista, I am delighted to have contributed to its growth, and that the commercial potential of our ideas is starting to be validated.

“This very substantive financing round by a consortium of outstanding investors shows the originality and quality of Amphista’s assets and workforce.

“I am very proud of their achievements and look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength.

“Amphista is on-track to develop first-in-class and best-in-class medicines for unmet medical needs, and it is very exciting to see innovative science translate towards patient benefit.”

The investment round was co-led by Forbion and Gilde Healthcare, while additional investors include Novartis Venture Fund and Eli Lilly & Company. Amphista has now raised more than £45 million from leading life sciences investment companies and funds.

Amphista, based at BioCity in North Lanarkshire, offers the potential to overcome many of the limitations seen with current TPD approaches, providing the opportunity to treat a wider range of diseases.

The firm is focused on biological targets with a high level of clinical or genetic validation, allowing the team to focus on the translation of their novel TPD approach for clinical benefit in areas of high unmet need.

Amphista CEO Nicola Thompson added, “This financing round, led by an outstanding investor syndicate, is a strong endorsement of our world class team and our novel approach.

“Amphista will now accelerate its oncology pipeline towards the clinic and extend our portfolio into indications largely inaccessible by traditional TPD approaches, such as diseases of the central nervous system.

“This oversubscribed Series B supports our ambition as a world-leading next generation protein degradation company delivering ground-breaking new medicines to patients in areas of high unmet need.”