Touchstone Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO) and Medicxi have co-led a £14 million Series A funding round into ApcinteX Limited, a University of Cambridge spin-out company that is developing a new therapy for haemophilia. Cambridge Enterprise helped in ApcinteX’s formation, licensing key intellectual property to the company, and are also co-investing in this round.
ApcinteX is seeking to disrupt the $10 billion haemophilia market by developing a drug that can be used in all patients, regardless of the type of haemophilia. This novel treatment is based on the work of Professor Jim Huntington (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research) and Dr Trevor Baglin (Cambridge University Hospitals), world-renowned experts in blood clotting disorders.
Around 400,000 individuals in the world are affected by haemophilia, a genetic disorder that causes uncontrolled bleeding as a result of patients having a deficiency in proteins required for normal blood clotting. Currently, the standard treatment is administration of the missing clotting factor, but this requires regular intravenous infusions and is not completely effective. In addition, about one quarter of patients develop an inhibitory antibody to the administered clotting factor which renders further treatment ineffective.
Apcintex has developed a new treatment that seeks to turn down the activity of a key natural anticoagulant pathway to produce normal blood clotting in patients with haemophilia. This means that the drug could potentially treat patients with all types of haemophilia, including those who develop antibodies to traditional blood clotting factors. Furthermore, the drug does not cause anti-clotting antibodies to form and could be administered every few weeks by simple injection under the skin.
Dani Bach, Director of Healthcare Ventures at Touchstone Innovations commented:
"We are delighted to be supporting this funding round which is in many ways a classic example of our model; backing outstanding research which has the potential to translate into differentiated products for patients in a substantial global market.
"Haemophilia is a life-threatening condition but it has not seen significant medical advances in decades. The requirement for frequent intravenous infusion challenges compliance and compromises efficacy and safety, particularly in children under five.
"We believe that ApcinteX has the potential to provide a better alternative. The ApcinteX treatment could effectively treat patients with all forms of haemophilia without the risk of inhibitor formation. It is a product that has the potential to transform the lives of patients and provide cost savings for healthcare providers.”