Cambridge, UK – 18th November 2013 – MISSION Therapeutics Limited (MISSION), a biotechnology company developing novel inhibitors of deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) involved in the DNA damage response, announced that it has closed a Series B round of equity financing totalling £20 million ($32 million). New investor Pfizer Venture Investments joined existing investors Sofinnova Partners, Imperial Innovations (AIM: IVO, 'Innovations'), S.R. One and Roche Venture Fund, which all participated in the financing.
MISSION was formed to exploit advances in the biology of the DNA damage response for the discovery of new classes of therapeutic agents with novel mechanisms of action. Utilising fundamental research principally generated in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Jackson,MISSION has progressed several small molecule discovery programmes focused on key enzymes in the ubiquitin pathway to selectively target difficult-to-treat cancers. The financing round will enable MISSION to advance its lead programmes, for the treatment of various genetically defined cancers, through preclinical development and to further exploit the potential of its novel DUB technology platform.
Commenting on the announcement on behalf of the enlarged syndicate, Graziano Seghezzi of Sofinnova Partners said: "MISSION aims to become the world-leading company exploiting deficiencies in DNA-repair mechanisms with specifically targeted medicines. In order to do so, the Company needs to have financial support commensurate with the challenge. This investment represents one of the largest early stage financing rounds in the UK in the last 5 years and I am delighted that Pfizer has joined us. Besides the solid institutional investors, Sofinnova Partners and Imperial Innovations, MISSION is now backed by the VC arms of three of the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world, testament to the quality of its science and drug discovery programmes".
Elaine Jones, Executive Director, Pfizer Venture Capital, commented: "Pfizer Venture Investments are delighted to be participating in the further capitalization of MISSION. The Company has identified and validated a number of novel targets in a major enzyme class involved in many pathological processes, which has the potential to deliver novel therapeutics for difficult, unmet cancers, as well as for a range of other diseases."
Michael Moore, Executive Chairman, MISSION, added: "This timely investment will significantly enhance our internal capabilities and strategic goals. It will enable us to build on the Company's achievements since inception two years ago, strengthen our management team and advance our lead compounds towards the clinic".