'Galvanized' by early data, British biotech Myricx secures $114M series A to take ADCs into clinic

When it comes to the red-hot antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) space, Big Pharmas have tended to head to China to build up their pipelines. But U.K.-based Myricx Bio has caught the eye of a crop of major investors courtesy of its unique science.

It was enough to bring in $114 million via a series A financing that the London-based biotech will use to get two candidates into the clinic over the coming years as well as expand the company’s workforce.

Asia may see a lot of ADC action at the moment, but the U.K. has its own proud history of developing the modality, according to Myricx’s CEO Robin Carr, Ph.D.

Myricx Bio CEO Robin Carr. c. Imperial, Jason Alden
MyricX CEO Robin Carr, Ph.D. (Myricx)

He points to Spirogen, “one of the earliest novel payload companies,” which was picked up by AstraZeneca in 2013. Before that acquisition, Spirogen spun out some of its tech into ADC Therapeutics, which has gone on to bring the CD19-directed ADC Zynlonta to market.

“So actually, the U.K. and Europe have got a track record of success,” Carr told Fierce Biotech in an interview. “And the founder of both those companies is our chairman [Chris Martin].”

Despite this backstory, Carr is keen to stress that he doesn’t see Myricx’s primary attribute being its national location.

“I guess I feel international, I don't feel English,” he explains. “We use thought leaders … out of Boston, out of Seattle, out of Geneva. So we access expertise all around the world.”

The biotech’s roots do lie closer to home, however. Myricx was founded by chemist Andrew Bell, Ph.D., academic Ed Tate, Ph.D., and serial entrepreneur Roberto Solari, Ph.D., with the biotech’s key science originating in Tate’s lab at Imperial College London. Carr formally came on board in 2019 after the biotech secured seed funding.

At the heart of Myricx’s work is the inhibition of an enzyme called N-Myristoyltransferase (NMT), which adds a specific lipid modification to certain protein targets that are key to the survival of cancer cells.

“There are about five [NMT] pathways we think are probably explaining most of the activity,” Carr explains. “All five pathways that cancer cells have an addiction to are all blocked in parallel. So it's sort of self-amplifying.”

“We spent two years trying to see if NMT on its own would be good as an IV or an oral drug,” Carr remembers. After assessing the preclinical data and sourcing feedback from “very high-profile VCs,” they decided that they could both reduce the drug’s toxicity and focus the drug on specific cancers by attaching their payload onto an ADC.

“We were very fortunate that the first ADC we made looked remarkably good, both in terms of efficacy and tolerability,” he says. “That result really galvanized us. So we pivoted completely.”

That’s not to say it’s been an easy ride. The team assumed they’d bring in a series A funding round after 18 months, but it’s been “closer to five years.”

It looks like the wait was worth it. Myricx has accrued a top-tier selection of backers for its series A led by life sciences investors Abingworth and Novo Holdings, the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk. New investors include Eli Lilly and the U.K. government’s economic development bank, with founding investors Brandon Capital and Sofinnova Partners also back for the ride.

“We spoke to Novo and Abingworth probably back in 2020,” says Carr. “We went a certain distance with them on the small molecule, and they liked us, they just wanted to see where we could take it to.”

Meanwhile, the relationship with Lilly started when the biotech went public with its very early ADC data a year ago. “They said, ‘We really like it, let's start talking,’” Carr says.

The money will be used to get one program into a phase 1 cancer trial in early 2026, explains Carr, who adds that some cash will also be used to “mature and broaden the platform.” The ultimate plan is to produce proof-of-concept data for two programs in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

It’s not just Myricx’s clinical ambitions that are growing. The company currently consists of four full-time employees supported by “around a dozen” consultants, but the aim is expand the full-time workforce to 15 staff while keeping the consultants onboard.

Carr already has his eye on where he hopes to place this expanding team—the company has been sizing up a combined lab-office facility in London, with the aim of moving in around September.

The series A funds are expected to last into 2028, but what comes next? Is Myricx already thinking about another financing? Or will it follow in the footsteps of many of its ADC peers and look for a Big Pharma partnership or buyout?

“Right now, our view would be we need to be able to secure a really substantial future fund,” Carr says. “Series B, IPO—whether that's what we do, or whether we do an M&A, actually, the best time to make those decisions is when you've got all of them worked up, and you have those optionalities.”

“So I think with this level of investment, there is a responsibility and a requirement [that] the board will expect us to build rich options,” he adds.