University spinout secures £63m to tackle diseases including main cause of blindness

Rafiq Hasan

A Manchester University spinout has received £63m to develop the treatment of a main cause of blindness.

Complement Therapeutics GmbH (CTx) was spun out of the University of Manchester Innovation Factory with initial funding from BGV in 2021, and subsequently received £4.36m seed funding in February 2022 from Forbion and BGV.

CTx is based in Germany but has subsidiaries in the UK (Complement Therapeutics) and in the USA (Complement Therapeutics Inc) as well as research laboratories in Stevenage.

It specialises in disorders that affect the part of the body’s immune system called the complement cascade, which is a part of the immune system that enhances the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from an organism.

Complement cascade disorders cause various health problems, including Geographic atrophy (GA) – or late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration – a chronic eye condition that causes blindness in millions of people globally and for which there is currently no available treatment in the UK.

The latest financing will allow CTx to continue the development and complete a Phase Ib clinical proof of concept of its lead treatment, called CTx001, for GA.

Proceeds will also be deployed to grow its laboratory-based activities in Stevenage, evaluate CTx’s additional new medicines for non-ocular indications as well as further develop the novel Complement Precision Medicine (CPM) platform.

Based on pioneering research of the company’s founders, Prof Simon Clark, Prof Paul Bishop and Dr Richard Unwin from The University of Manchester, Complement Therapeutics aims to develop innovative and effective therapeutics to address unmet needs in complement mediated diseases.

Dr Richard Unwin, senior lecturer at The University of Manchester, said: “This is a hugely exciting step forward which will allow us to take observations we have made in the lab here in Manchester and move them towards developing new treatments for a range of common and serious complement-mediated diseases.

“By combing new therapies with our bespoke precision medicine platform we have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients with these debilitating disorders.”

Dr Rafiq Hasan, CEO and managing director at Complement Therapeutics GmbH, said: “With a potentially highly differentiated lead asset combined with a precision medicine approach, we are excited by the opportunity to further develop CTx001 for the treatment of GA through to the clinic.

“The support of this broad syndicate enables us to generate additional data demonstrating CTx001’s unique and differentiated mechanism of action, with the potential to transform the treatment landscape in geographic atrophy.”

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