Bumper round for UK pharma business

A number of European and US VC firms have contributed to a E46m financing round for Cambridge-based kuDOS Pharmaceuticals.

A range of venture capital investors from European and US investors have participated in one of the largest venture capital rounds in Europe in the past twelve months.

European investors including Dutch-based LSP-Life Sciences Partners and BankInvest Biomedical Venture of Denmark have joined existing UK-based investors Advent Venture Partners, Schroder Ventures Life Sciences and 3i to contribute to the £29.5m third round financing for KuDOS Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge.  

US investors Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and EuclidSR Partners led the investment round. The investment takes the total venture capital investment raised by KuDOS above the £40m mark.

KuDOS was established in 1997 by Cambridge University biology professor Stephen Jackson to develop novel anti-cancer drugs. The latest fundraising round comes at a time when the university seeks to establish guidelines for the ownership of ideas developed at the university. The university is thought to favour a policy that would see it control the rights and patents to all the concepts and inventions they create. KuDOS is part-owned by Cambridge University and led by chief executive Barrie Ward.

The proceeds of the funding round will be used to conduct clinical studies of KuDOS' two major cancer-treatment products. The fundraising is one of the largest rounds to take place in Europe in the last year, and is only slightly below the £32m raised by UK biotech business RiboTargets in September last year. On that occasion, JP Morgan Partners led the financing with 3i and Advent Venture Partners also investing.

Dr Raymond Whitaker, partner at EuclidSR Partners, the $250m life science fund which co-led the investment round, said the firm was pleased to have attracted a broad range of investors. 'What attracted us was the range and depth of the assets available to KuDOS and a pipeline of pre-clinical candidate compounds.” Whitaker added that the round was ‘considerably oversubscribed’.