Seed funding for firm aiming to reshape future of cancer treatment

Spirea, a Harrogate-based spin-out from the University of Cambridge, has closed a seed investment round led by Meltwind and Start Codon.

Founded to deliver the next generation of antibody drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics for the treatment of multiple cancers; the financing will progress the development of its ADC technology, which allows the delivery of more drug payload to tumour cells resulting in greater efficacy, tolerability and the ability to treat more cancer patients.

Despite strong interest in the field from pharmaceutical companies, only eight ADCs have successfully reached the market with many programmes stalled due to constraints with the format, toxic side-effects and limitations in the range of cancer patients who can be treated.

Dr Myriam Ouberai, CEO of Spirea, said: “Incorporation of our technology into ADC products will accelerate and energise the important transition away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach currently being pursued in ADC development, resulting in novel products with a competitive and differentiated profile.

“The platform has the power to unlock the development of a new generation of powerful and well-tolerated drugs, which have been so far inaccessible to many cancer patients.

“We are delighted to have attracted seed funding from Meltwind and Start Codon, and to be part of the first Start Codon incubator programme.

“This investment and support serve as endorsements of our approach and will allow us to optimise and validate our technology.”

Dr Jonathan Milner, executive director at Meltwind, said: “The market for ADCs is anticipated to reach $7.5bn by 2025.

“Spirea’s transformative approach to addressing the common obstacles faced in ADC development has the potential to disrupt this field entirely, placing the company in a unique position to address a very significant market opportunity.

“This is an exciting time for Spirea and we are pleased to be supporting them.”

Dr Jason Mellad, co-founder and CEO at Start Codon, said: “We are very excited to be working closely with Spirea to support their start-up journey.

“The company has already demonstrated promising in vitro results and we look forward to seeing the technology develop further.”