Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘the Group’, ‘Innovations’) announces that portfolio company Storm Therapeutics (or the ‘Company’) has completed a £12.0 million Series A fundraising which will be used for the identification of small molecules that target RNA-modifying enzymes as the basis for the development of new cancer therapies.
Innovations led the seed funding round for Storm Therapeutics (formerly Iceni Therapeutics) in May 2015 and has now committed a further £3.0 million to the Series A funding round, alongside existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital Merck Ventures BV and Pfizer Venture Investments. As a result of this new investment, Innovations will hold a 22.3% stake in the issued share capital of the Company.
Storm Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development business focused on the identification and development of small molecules that target RNA-modifying enzymes. The company is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge’s Gurdon Institute and was created to commercialise the ground-breaking work of its founders, Professor Tony Kouzarides and Professor Eric Miska, in the field of RNA epigenetics.
RNA (ribonucleic acid) is the template of all protein synthesis and has key regulatory functions in the cell. There is growing understanding of the importance of RNA modification in the development of cancer, opening up novel therapeutic targets in cancer treatment.
Professors Kouzarides and Miska and their research groups have identified certain RNA-modifying enzymes against which Storm Therapeutics intends to develop therapeutics, using intellectual property licensed from Cambridge Enterprise (the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge). The proceeds of the funding will be used to identify small molecule modulators of these novel targets in RNA modification pathways and develop them into new classes of anti-cancer treatments.
Rob Woodman, Director of Healthcare Ventures at Imperial Innovations, said:
“We are delighted to be working with the founders and co-investors to make Storm Therapeutics a leader in therapeutic modulation of RNA modifying enzymes.
“Storm Therapeutics is a classic example of our model – helping world-leading scientists to turn their outstanding research into exciting early-stage companies by providing long-term funding and building great syndicates of like-minded co-investors.”