London, UK, 6th October 2009 – Bicycle Therapeutics Ltd, a new biotechnology company developing a novel technology platform for the creation of a new generation of biotherapeutics, has secured seed funding from Atlas Venture and Novartis Venture Fund.
Bicycle Therapeutics combines the most desirable features of small molecules and biologics, to create highly specific and highly stable drugs.
The technology involves the application of phage selection techniques to the identification and optimisation of chemically constrained cyclic peptides with high target specificity and binding affinities that are also stable to unfolding and to the action of proteases. These peptides could be regarded as a mini-antibodies with covalent organic cores, and as such should overcome the weaknesses of previous generations of peptide based therapeutics
Bicycle Therapeutics is a spin-out from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Its technology platform is based on the pioneering work of the founding scientists Sir Gregory Winter, a scientific founder for both CAT and Domantis, and Dr. Christian Heinis. The new company is managed by Dr. John Tite (Chief Executive Officer) and is based in Cambridge.
“We are delighted to have created this exciting new company based upon such an innovative technology and with scientific founders with such a great track record. Bicycle Therapeutics aims to develop its proprietary technology to create a pipeline of drugs which have the potential to be truly differentiated medicines’’ said John Tite.
As part of the seed funding, founding investors Dr. Regina Hodits, Atlas Venture, and Dr. Anja König, Novartis Venture Fund, will join the Board of Directors.
“We are truly excited about the prospect of creating a novel class of highly differentiated therapeutics with a world class team of founders, research organisations and management,” said Regina Hodits from Atlas.
Anja König from the Novartis Venture Fund agrees: “Bicycle’s technologies have the potential to be truly transformational in generating a completely new class of drug molecule combining the advantages of biologics and small molecules’’
“It is very satisfying to see another new company coming from the Laboratory’s research, and we will continue to work with the company to ensure that the benefits of this technology are realised as quickly as possible to improve human health” said the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Dr. Hugh Pelham
Dave Tapolczay, CEO of MRC Technology, the company responsible for commercially exploiting MRC intellectual property, said, “The translation of basic, long-term research such as this into a start-up company with first class investors, management and founding scientists is one of MRC’s goals. There is a great opportunity for Bicycle Therapeutics to deliver both medicinal and economic value to the UK in the years to come and contribute significantly to this goal”.