Pheno Therapeutics launches with £5m investment
Pheno Therapeutics, a new drug-discovery spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, has been launched with the backing of Series A funding totalling £5 million from Advent Life Sciences, the Scottish Investment Bank and LifeArc.
With the £5m funding spanning over its first three years, Pheno Therapeutics will search for new drugs that aim to repair damage to the nervous system and significantly improve patients’ debilitating symptoms.
Pheno Therapeutics is supported by Advent Life Sciences, the London-based venture capital firm; the Scottish Investment Bank, with backing from the Scottish Government through the Scottish Growth Scheme; and independent medical research charity LifeArc. Together they have committed to invest, subject to the company meeting certain milestone conditions.
Building on original research by Professors Siddharthan Chandran and Neil Carragher of the University of Edinburgh, the company aims to develop new therapies for MS by identifying novel molecules that cause the body to repair or replace the damaged myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells.
This so-called remyelination process has the potential to slow or arrest the progressive disability caused by MS.
Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Pheno Therapeutics co-founder, said: “There are no interventions for people with later stage multiple sclerosis, which is a devastating and debilitating condition. The opportunity for this company is to bring new and repurposed therapeutics to clinical trials and, by doing so, meet an urgent and currently unmet need.”
Dr David Holbrook, head of LifeArc’s Seed Fund, added: “At the Seed Fund, we look to use our translational expertise to invest in enterprises with a sound scientific concept and the potential to lead to new interventions that address patient needs.
“In the founders of Pheno Therapeutics and their research to induce myelin repair, we saw an appealing opportunity, particularly given the existing clinical needs in progressive MS. We are delighted to have reached an agreement to support Pheno Therapeutics translate their discoveries.”