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1 June, 2017 - 08:13 By Tony Quested

Bicycle Therapeutics raises $52m Series B cash

Bicycle Therapeutics

Big hitting California and Singapore investor Vertex Ventures HC has led a $52 million (£40m) Series B round for Cambridge UK biotech business Bicycle Therapeutics to accelerate development of multiple drug candidates.

Vertex is a US and Asian funding powerhouse and its involvement shows the huge potential of Bicycle’s new class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) product platform. 

The company will now further develop a range of candidates, including Bicycle’s lead molecule, BT1718 – a first-in-class drug for cancers of high unmet need.

Other new investors – Cambridge Innovation Capital and Longwood Fund – joined the round along with existing backers Novartis Venture Fund, SROne, SVLS and Atlas Ventur. 

As part of the financing, Dr Christopher Shen, managing director at Vertex Ventures HC, and Dr Michael Anstey – an investment director at CIC – have joined the Bicycle board.

Dr Shen said: “Bicycle Therapeutics has a highly innovative platform with the potential to transform the course of treatment for patients suffering from a range of diseases, including difficult-to-treat cancers.

“We are delighted to lead this financing and to support Bicycle’s seasoned management team to realise the promise of this new class of therapies.”

Bicycles® can combine properties of several therapeutic entities in a single modality: exhibiting the affinity and selective pharmacology associated with antibodies; the distribution kinetics of small molecules, allowing rapid tumour penetration; and the ‘tuneable’ pharmacokinetic half-life and renal clearance of peptides.

Its lead molecule, BT1718, is the first example of its Bicycle Drug Conjugate® (BDC) technology in which toxic chemical payloads are targeted specifically to malignant tumours, minimising systemic toxin exposure through renal clearance. 

BT1718 targets Membrane Type 1 Matrix Metalloproteinase (MT1-MTP), which is highly expressed in many solid tumours, including triple negative breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. 

It is expected to enter the clinic in 2017 in partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The Series B will also fund additional pipeline programs through early clinical development, the first of which will be selected in the second half of 2017.

Bicycle CEO Dr Kevin Lee said: “This financing represents an important validation of our approach while providing Bicycle with the resources to continue to advance our pipeline and translate our bicyclic peptide technology into important new treatment options for patients.

“We are grateful for the continued strong support from our investors as we move BT1718 rapidly toward the clinic and continue to advance our preclinical programs, including toxin drug conjugates and immune modulators to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases.”

Bicycle Therapeutics’ unique IP is based on the work initiated at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge by the scientific founders of the company, Sir Gregory Winter and Professor Christian Heinis. 

The company is headquartered in Cambridge UK with a US subsidiary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In March 2017 it became the first life science company to win the Disruptive Technology category of the Business Weekly Awards.

Bicycle award
Kevin Lee (left) and Michael Skynner (right) from Bicycle Therapeutics receive the Business Weekly Disruptive Technology of the Year Award in March from Professor Steve Young of the University of Cambridge. Photograph by Tony Lumb 

 

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