Spirea, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge created to advance a new generation of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, confirmed that it has secured funding of UK £ 2.4 million (US $ 2.85 million) with investments co-led by Jonathan Milner and Cambridge Enterprise and American investors, including R42 Group, ACF Investors, o2h Ventures, Syndicate Room and the Cambridge Angels investing.

Spirea will use the funds to initiate its pipeline of superior and differentiated ADCs in the treatment of solid tumors where there is a high unmet medical need.

ADCs combine the cell-killing activity of a cytotoxic drug with cancer targeting capability of an antibody. Although the ADC concept has been exemplified with approved products, many ADC programs have failed to progress through clinical development because of dose-limiting toxicities, restricted efficacy, and limitations in the range of treatable cancers.

Higher DAR
Spirea has developed a new approach to developing ADCs that allows more drug payloads – a higher drug-to-antibody ratio (DAR) – to be specifically directed to the target tumor cell. This results in an increase in therapeutic effect whilst substantially reducing debilitating side effects.

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According to Spirea, the technology can unlock accessible and well-tolerated medicines for the treatment of a wide range of cancers by delivering the right amount of the right drug to the right cells.

This allows for the development of stable and tailored ADCs incorporating a variety of drug payloads at varying levels of potency, and different modes of action (MOA). This will result in cancer therapeutics with significantly better efficacy and safety profiles.

“We welcome our new investors and thank our existing investors for their continuing confidence in Spirea. With our novel approach to building ADC therapeutics, we aim to radically improve the treatment options for patients with hard-to-treat cancers,” said Myriam Ouberai, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Spirea.

“Having shown the flexibility and strength of our technology, we look forward to the next exciting stage in the development of Spirea’s ADC pipeline and to building significant strategic partnerships,” Quberai added.

This is an exciting time for Spirea and we are pleased to be supporting them with this further investment. Spirea’s innovative antibody-drug conjugate technology is highly differentiated, and we believe it holds great value and potential to lead developments in the field of cancer therapeutics,” noted Christine Martin, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise.

“Spirea has overcome many of the hurdles commonly associated with antibody-drug conjugate therapeutics. By developing a highly customizable platform where drug payloads and targets can be altered as needed, the Company is revealing the true potential of ADCs as a cancer cell-specific, highly effective therapeutic option for a wide range of cancers,” concluded Jonathan Milner, Founder of Abcam and Chief Executive Officer of Meltwind Advisory.

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