Cambridge Research BioVentures (CRB) and Cambridge Research and Innovation Ltd (CRIL), have contributed £700,000 to a £1m investment in Spirogen, a company which develops new gene targeting technology. Bloomsbury Investment Capital, the company responsible for University College London’s programme of investments, and Xenva Ltd invested the remaining £300,000. Cancer Research Campaign Technologies, UCL and the universities of Portsmouth and Nottingham are also shareholders in SpiroGen.
SpiroGen is commercialising a platform technology capable of discovering lead compounds that target any gene sequence. The company’s work on new agents that can recognise and interact with any specified gene sequence has widespread applications in the fields of biotechnology, cancer and virology.
The SpiroGen financing is the first joint investment between CRIL and CRB. Chris Knightly, chief executive of Spirogen, believes that the company has an important role to play in the area of the control of gene expression. “One of the compounds it has developed is already in pre-clinical development with the National Cancer Institute in the United States and with CRCT in the United Kingdom. This is exactly the type of early-stage company in which CRIL and CRB are looking to invest and we expect to be working together on many equally exciting projects in the future”.
Professor David Thurston, Dr. Philip Howard and Professor John Hartley founded SpiroGen. Thurston and Howard, who are responsible for the company’s chemical technologies, are at Nottingham University. Hartley, from UCL, provides the biochemical and biological expertise. SpiroGen plans to move into laboratories in the London area this year.
CRB was formed as a venture capital fund in 2000. Based in Dublin, it is backed by the independent technology management company Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) in Tucson, Arizona.