Top scientists at UK cancer drug upstart raise $10M A round

A UK startup with an impeccable scientific pedigree has rounded up about $10 million in Series A cash from some top venture groups for the development of new cancer drugs. Mission Therapeutics' mission is to pursue the work of Stephen Jackson at the University of Cambridge, exploring new drugs targeting enzymes in the ubiquitin pathways. Mission will pursue an old passion of Jackson's: Inhibiting DNA repair in order to efficiently kill cancer cells. And the work could have applications in other diseases as well.

Jackson assembled a familiar team of scientific founders: Dr. Niall Martin, Dr. Xavier Jacq and Dr. Keith Menear, who had all worked together at KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, another Cambridge spinout he launched. And the team attracted some considerable financial and institutional support for the fledgling biotech venture. Sofinnova Partners led the round, with contributions from Imperial Innovations-an arm of Imperial College London, which recently raised a $228 million fund--SR One and Roche Venture Fund. Cancer Research UK's Cancer Research Technology, its commercialization arm, and Cambridge University will assist as founding institutions.

Saying he was excited by the launch, Jackson added that "while having the potential to be effective by themselves, these drugs could also improve the effectiveness of existing cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and certain chemotherapies."

Jackson has enjoyed success with earlier cancer startups. KuDOS was sold to AstraZeneca five years ago for $210 million. And the Series A news comes just a day after Imperial announced that it is backing a GSK biotech spinout, Autifony.

"This first investment in a Cambridge company is a significant step for Innovations. We are delivering on our objective of broadening our portfolio to include technology from Oxford, Cambridge and University College London," said Susan Searle, the CEO of Innovations.

- check out the Mission release
- see the release from Imperial
- here's the story from Cambridge Business Media