A SCOTS biologics company has secured a hefty £8m investment following a funding round led by three major investors.
The multi-million-pound investment will enable Aberdeen-based Elasmogen to continue developing its pipeline of next-generation drugs through pre-clinical trials.
Elasmogen is a biopharmaceutical company aiming to discover and develop new therapeutics using its soloMERTM platform.
The company’s soloMERTM technology is based on molecules naturally found in sharks’ immune systems, which are the equivalent of human antibodies but smaller and more stable.
Elasmogen’s pipeline is focused on applying this soloMER technology to treatments of solid-tumour cancers, systemic inflammatory diseases and inflammatory conditions of the gut.
Elasmogen’s lead programme, partnered with Almac Discovery, is a soloMER-Drug-Conjugate targeting ROR1 in solid tumour cancers.
This plays into the high growth class of antibody drug conjugates, a market valued at $2.4bn in 2019 which has been gaining interest as a means of developing more targeted cancer therapies.
The soloMER technology has roots in the University of Aberdeen where it was first established as Haptogen Ltd in 2006.
It was then acquired by US pharma company Wyeth in 2007 and later by Pfizer. Its co-founder and CEO Dr Caroline Barelle has led the spin-out of Elasmogen and has guided the business since its inception.
Elasmogen previously secured grant funding from Scottish Enterprise and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in 2014.
The company has since raised upwards of £9m from investors, such as Deepbridge Capital, and grant funding bodies such as Innovate UK, to support the development of its soloMER technology and to facilitate growth into key markets.
Dr Caroline Barelle, co-founder and CEO of Elasmogen, said: “Securing this investment is truly transformational for Elasmogen and will enable us to progress our first soloMER drugs into the clinic as well as bolster and advance our exciting product pipeline.
“This success story is testament not just to the potential of our technology platform but absolutely by the quality, commitment and drive of the Elasmogen team as a whole.
“With the opening of the new BioHub here in Aberdeen later this year, combined with this investment and the quality of our new and existing investors, the company is well positioned to make a significant impact in the therapeutic biologics arena.”
Keith Barclay, investor at BGF, commented: “We are proud to further expand BGF’s thriving life sciences portfolio by backing Elasmogen and their standout management team.
“Elasmogen’s unique soloMER platform and exciting drug pipeline made it an extremely attractive opportunity.
“The soloMER technology has the potential to immeasurably better the lives of patients through new, more targeted therapies.
“Its platform nature offers opportunities for commercial partnerships as well as a growing in-house pipeline of therapeutic programmes.”
BGF has invested over £100m in a medtech companies to date. Recent investments in the drug development space include the likes of Phoremost, Arecor and Definigen.
Simon Comer, Investment Director, Scottish National Investment Bank, added: “The Bank’s investment in Elasmogen’s advanced technology will promote Aberdeen as a centre for drug innovation and development.
“Elasmogen’s next-generation biologics for inflammatory, autoimmune diseases and oncology have the potential to significantly improve the health of people in Scotland as well as globally.”
Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’re pleased to provide Elasmogen with further backing, having supported the earliest stages of its development through.
“This round will allow the company to expand its clinical trials and unlock more opportunities for growth and investment.”