Evox Therapeutics has raised £35.5 million ($45.4 million) to support its pipeline of exosome-based drugs. The series B, which attracted the support of GV, sets Evox up to take rare disease candidates into the clinic.
Oxford, U.K.-based Evox is focused on engineering naturally occurring, nano-sized vesicles to get drugs to currently inaccessible targets. These vesicles, known as exosomes, transfer molecules between cells. By hijacking the mechanism, Evox thinks it can get proteins and nucleic acids to otherwise inaccessible targets, such as those across the blood-brain barrier.
Evox has worked away at the idea using £10 million in series A funding since 2016, landing deals with Boehringer Ingelheim and an unidentified top 10 pharma company along the way. The work has taken Evox toward the clinic and therefore driven up its financial requirements.
To meet its rising financial needs, Evox has put together a £35.5 million series B round led by Redmile Group. GV, the venture capital shop formerly known as Google Ventures, contributed £10 million to the round, according to The Times. Cowen Healthcare Investments made a “significant” contribution, too, while Panacea Healthcare Venture, Borealis Ventures and existing backers Oxford Sciences Innovation and Oxford University chipped in smaller amounts.
The syndicate has equipped Evox to move several rare disease drugs into the clinic. Having reached candidate optimization, a protein replacement exosome designed to treat Niemann-Pick disease type C could be the first Evox program to reach phase 1.
Further back, Evox is working on mRNA exosomes to treat rare metabolic disorders and protein exosomes that address lysosomal storage diseases.
Evox’s series B is the latest validation of the potential of its platform. The startup emerged in 2016 with science advanced at Oxford University and Karolinska Institute, before going on to name former Moderna and Ablynx CSO Tony de Fougerolles as its CEO.
De Fougerolles joined Evox to oversee the development of technology that could spawn a new class of biotherapeutics. The series B will support work to take Evox toward that lofty goal.
“We are excited by the inherent transformational potential of our exosome technology, which significantly improves and enables the delivery of a wide range of therapeutic molecules, including antibodies, proteins, nucleic acids and small molecules. This additional funding will enable us to advance our pipeline of novel exosome-based therapeutics towards the clinic and allow continued expansion of our world-leading exosome platform,” de Fougerolles said in a statement.