Bicycle Therapeutics, a next generation biotherapeutics company developing first-in-class bicyclic peptides, has secured an equity financing of £20 (US $ 32) million for the clinical development of therapeutic bicycle drug candidates for the treatment of a number of cancers. Participating investors include Atlas Venture, Novartis Venture Fund, SR One, SV Life Sciences and Astellas Venture Management.
Bicycle Therapeutics has developed a proprietary bicyclic peptide based technology. The technology enables the discovery of a new class of drug candidates called ‘bicycles,’ providing antibody-like affinity and selectivity in a 100-fold smaller chemically synthesized molecule. Bicycle peptides are short peptide sequences constrained by a chemical scaffold core to form a structure with two loops of amino acids. This structure confers high stability and high affinity binding to targets. The company is applying the technology to drug discovery projects in areas including oncology and ophthalmology and additional therapeutic areas through selected collaborative discovery partnerships with a number of pharmaceutical companies.
The secured financing supports the clinical development of bicycle-drug conjugates or BDCs that are highly selective to tumor-specific targets, with sub-nanomolar affinities. To date, preclinical models have shown that these BDCs extravasate and penetrate tissues much more rapidly and efficiently than antibodies, effecting rapid cell killing through the tumour mass and fast clearance. This results in effective tumour lysis with minimal systemic exposure.
Multiple therapeutic areas
Bicycle technology may be used in the development for therapies in oncology, respiratory, inflammatory and ophthalmology disease, as agonists, antagonists or for delivering payloads. The company’s projects in BDCs for oncology are leveraged by pharma partnerships addressing targets nominated by a select number of development partners, where the speed of lead discovery and optimization enables drug candidate selection in months. The first partnership with ThromboGenics NV (Leuven, Belgium) involved the development of a bicyclic peptide drug candidates specific to a ophthalmology target for the treatment of diabetic macular edema.
Advancing drug development
Commenting on the succesful equity financing, Andrew Sandham, Chairman of Bicycle, noted: “This second round financing enables us to advance our BDC candidates to clinical development in cancer indications. We also have the capacity to work collaboratively with pharma partners on other targets and indications in many diseases.”
“Bicycle technology was invented by our founders, Sir Gregory Winter and Professor Christian Heinis. We have developed the platform for rapid discovery and optimization of drug candidates, and are delighted that we are now able to demonstrate clinical utility of this exciting new class of molecules,” Bicycle’s Chief Executive Officer Rolf Günther, added.
Published in: Bicycle Therapeutics website