Woodford and Imperial Innovations back an $86M round for a U.K. biotech

Neil Woodford

Cambridge, U.K.'s Mission Therapeutics raised £60 million ($86 million) in equity to fund its work in a novel biological pathway, uniting high-profile investors Imperial Innovations and Woodford Patient Capital Trust in the round.

The company, developing small-molecule drugs targeting the protein ubiquitin, recruited previous backers Sofinnova Partners, Roche ($RHHBY) Venture Fund, Pfizer ($PFE) Venture Investments and GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) SR One to fill out the fundraise.

With the money, Mission plans to advance its early-stage pipeline of drugs that target deubiquitylating enzymes, or DUBs, which play a role in cancer, neurodegenerative ailments, muscle deterioration and infectious disease, according to the company.

Mission, still in the drug discovery phase, said it plans to advance its lead projects into preclinical development this year. The biotech's disclosed programs include DUB blockers with potential in oncology, Parkinson's disease and inflammation.

The company spun out of Cambridge University in 2011 with help from Cancer Research U.K. and Sofinnova Partners, which led its Series A round. Mission has raised £87 million ($125 million) in total since its foundation.

Mission's founding science stems from the work of Chief Scientific Officer Steve Jackson, an oncology leader at Cambridge's Gurdon Institute. Jackson was among the founders of KuDOS Pharma, whose cancer drug olaparib, approved in 2014, led AstraZeneca ($AZN) to buy the company for $210 million in 2006.

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