CM – Leucid Bio raises £ 11.5m in Series A funding


Leucid Bio (Leucid), a biotech company pioneering next generation cell therapies for hard-to-treat cancers, has successfully raised £ 11.5 million in a Series A funding round.

The investment was led by Epidarex and the new investor Vulpes Investment Management, with the participation of the new investors 2Invest and Future Fund of the British Business Bank as well as the existing investor Sofinnova Partners. The proceeds from the funding will be used to initiate a Phase 1 study of its lead candidate LEU-011 for the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

CAR-T-cell therapy is a revolutionary technology in which the patient’s own immune cells are reprogrammed so that they can recognize and destroy cancer cells. This has been shown to be an effective therapy for refractory blood cancers, but has not yet been very effective for treating solid cancers.

Leucid was founded to bring back 20 years of groundbreaking CAR-T research led by Dr. John Maher from King’s College London, who joined the company from the beginning as Chief Scientific Officer. Leucid has developed a proprietary motor based on Dr. Maher’s novel CAR-T model, which develops CAR-T molecules designed for a more natural biological configuration of cells. Early development work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Guy’s and St Thomas’s Biomedical Research Center. The company’s technology gives the CAR-Ts properties that enable them to consistently outperform previous generations of CAR-T therapies in preclinical studies; Improvement of T-cell potency and generation of a sustained long-term response with reduced toxicity.

Leucid’s LEU-011 program is a NKG2D-CAR T cell therapy in preclinical development for the treatment of solid tumors and hematological malignancies. The NKG2D receptor is an activating immune receptor that triggers cell death upon recognition of human NKG2D ligands that are expressed on transformed, infected or damaged cells. LEU-011 has the potential to treat multiple cancers because NKG2D ligands are expressed on more than 80 percent of human tumor cells.

In connection with the Series A funding, Ian Miscampbell, Managing Partner of Sixth Element Capital LLP, has been named chairman of the board, while Martin Diggle, portfolio manager of the Vulpes Life Science Fund, will join the board as a non-executive director. and Heikki Lanckriet as board observer for 2Invest. Epidarex’s Peter Finan currently serves on the board as Investment Director, and Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner of Sofinnova, and Michael Garrison, Director at King’s College London, remain on the board as observers.

Artin Moussavi, Chief Executive Officer of Leucid Bio, says: “We are excited to welcome new investors to Leucid Bio. With the support of this high-profile consortium, the funding will enable us to bring our lead program LEU-011 into clinical development. At Leucid, we are developing enhanced CAR-T technologies that aim to address key challenges in CAR-T cell therapy for solid tumors, improve patient outcomes, and save the lives of cancer patients who are currently facing current treatments not as clinically meaningful as required. « 

Ian Miscampbell, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Leucid Bio, said, “I am delighted to be entering clinical development as chairman of this groundbreaking company, developing novel CAR-T therapies for patients who do not currently have a treatment option. I was impressed by the excellent work of the Leucid team and am looking forward to establishing Leucid as the leading next-generation CAR-T company. « 

Peter Finan, Partner at Epidarex Capital, said, “The new funding will allow us to explore Leucid’s breakthrough technology in a clinical setting. We remain optimistic that with the right therapeutic approach, the challenges for CAR-T therapy can be overcome in a solid tumor setting. We look forward to working closely with the Leucid team and our co-investors in order to exploit the potential of the Leucid technology. « 

Martin Diggle, Principal at Vulpes Life Sciences, said, “After Vulpes conducts extensive scientific due diligence, Vulpes is excited to support this important fundraiser so that Leucid can advance its exciting cancer therapies. We believe that Professor John Maher’s team has one of the most promising approaches to solid tumor treatment in the world today, and we are excited about the capabilities of his CAR-T research to date. « 


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