Spirea raises £2.4m to develop antibody drug conjugates in cancer

Funding will enable the development of Spirea’s pipeline of antibody drug conjugate therapeutics for the treatment of solid tumours

Spirea – a spin-out from Cambridge University – has announced that it has secured funding of £2.4m with investments from several high-profile UK and US investors.

The company will use the funds to initiate its pipeline of superior and differentiated antibody drug conjugates (ADC) in the treatment of solid tumours, especially where there is a high unmet need. ADCs combine the cell killing activity of a cytotoxic drug with the cancer targeting capability of a monoclonal antibody.

Although the ADC concept has been established with approved products, many ADC programmes have failed to progress through clinical development because of dose-limiting toxicities, restricted efficacy and limitations in the range of treatable cancers.

In contrast, Spirea’s technology allows more cytotoxic drug to be attached to the targeting antibody, which means more drug is delivered to the cancer cell. This approach allows for the development of tailored ADCs incorporating a variety of drugs at varying levels of potency and different modes-of-action. This will result in cancer therapeutics with significantly better efficacy and safety profiles.

Dr Myriam Ouberai, chief executive officer at Spirea, explained: “With our novel approach to building ADC therapeutics, we aim to radically improve the treatment options for patients with hard-to-treat cancers. Having shown the flexibility and strength of our technology, we look forward to the next exciting stage in the development of Spirea’s ADC pipeline and to building significant strategic partnerships.”

Dr Christine Martin, head of seed funds at Cambridge Enterprise, added: “This is an exciting time for Spirea and we are pleased to be supporting them with this further investment. Spirea’s innovative antibody drug conjugate technology is highly differentiated, and we believe it holds great value and potential to lead developments in the field of cancer therapeutics.”

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