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LifeArc boosts investment in Cambridge University spin-out PolyProx Therapeutics to advance new class of cancer medicines

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2 March 2020 – LifeArc, a UK-based medical research charity, has invested £1 million from its Seed Fund in Cambridge Biopharmaceutical company PolyProx Therapeutics to progress a potentially new class of cancer drugs. This investment will help to advance studies to validate polyproxin® molecules as potential drug candidates across a range of cancers that are historically intractable, or hard-to-treat.

The polyproxin® technology, which is an analogous biological approach to small molecule proteolysis targeting chimera degraders, uses state-of-the-art bioinformatic and protein engineering techniques. The potential advantages of polyproxin® technology are to open access to currently intractable drug targets and broaden the repertoire of natural degradation pathways. The company’s current drug discovery projects will target cancer proteins for degradation using the natural machinery within cells. These projects may be of benefit in several cancer types, including colorectal, pancreatic and lung. This new approach could potentially lead to improvements in health outcomes in patients with few remaining treatment options.

Enrique Milan, Investment Principal, LifeArc Seed Fund, who will sit on the PolyProx Therapeutics board commented: “LifeArc’s Seed Fund was established to help translate promising medical research into patient benefit. We are excited to be working with the PolyProx team on the development of a novel, first-in-class therapeutic modality that could potentially address some of the challenges in cancer treatment.”

Polyproxin® molecules selectively target disease-causing proteins within tumour cells, which are usually hard-to-drug, while engaging cellular degradation pathways to eliminate these proteins and so inhibit further growth of the tumour.

Andrew Sandham, Executive Chairman, PolyProx Therapeutics said: “We are delighted to welcome LifeArc as an investor, which enables us to expand our drug discovery resources following our recent move to new laboratories in Cambridge. We have made exciting progress on our polyproxin® drug discovery projects in oncology and look forward to sharing proof of concept data with prospective investors and partners later this year.”

This investment from LifeArc is in addition to the £3.4 million raised in 2019 from Cambridge Innovation Capital plc (CIC), RT Capital and Cambridge Enterprise.

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Media contacts

Surinder Maan
Communications Manager, LifeArc

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