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18 February, 2021 - 16:24 By Tony Quested

Azeria Therapeutics liquidated 15 months after raising £32m Series B

A Cambridge startup specialising in a highly complex area of cancer research has decided to close its doors just 15 months or so after raising a £32 million Series B.

In all, Azeria Therapeutics had raised £36m in its first two rounds but it recently decided to liquidate the business. Liquidator Stephen Adshead of Smith & Williamson told Business Weekly it had been a “solvent liquidation.” 

He added: “A substantial amount of funds have been returned to investors. The directors simply decided that they had taken the venture as far as it could go.”

As we reported in November 2019, Syncona injected £29.5m of the Series B cash alongside existing investor the CRT Pioneer Fund.

Azeria was founded in 2017 by Sixth Element Capital, manager of the CRT Pioneer Fund and Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships team. The objective was to build a world-class pioneer factor oncology company, developing breakthrough treatments for hormone resistant breast cancer patients.

It was based on the work of leading expert in the field, Professor Jason Carroll at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, whose scientific insights led to a new approach to target FOXA1 driven cancer. The company was based at the CRUK Cambridge Institute.

FOXA1 is an essential pioneer factor which has been shown to be pivotal in the tumour growth, progression and maintenance of oestrogen receptor positive luminal breast cancer. This is an area of significant unmet patient need where approximately 30 per cent of patients progress to late stage endocrine resistant disease and where there is potential for new treatments to have significant impacts for patients not addressed by existing therapeutics.

Azeria was seeking to develop the programme to commercialisation and to explore a pipeline of further programmes in oncology.

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