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16 November, 2020 - 12:10 By Tony Quested

Myricx Pharma launches with £4.5m to advance novel cancer inhibitors

Myricx Pharma, a startup from Imperial College London and the Francis Crick Institute, has launched at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst with £4.5 million seed funding.

The venture encapsulates 15 years of world-leading research on N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) and breakthrough discoveries related to its inhibition in cancer. 

The initial financing came from a venture capital syndicate of experienced life sciences investors, Sofinnova Partners and Brandon Capital Partners.

Myricx Pharma is led led by a team of world-class scientists and drug developers with a track record of Big Pharma, biotechnology and academic successes.

Its work is based on world-leading NMT biology and chemistry research from the laboratories of its co-founders, Professor Ed Tate (CSO), chemistry consultant Dr Andrew Bell and CEO Dr Roberto Solari. Myricx has the rights to key NMT discoveries, and composition-of-matter and use patents of its scientific co-founders through exclusive license agreements with Imperial College London.

The initial focus is in oncology exploiting novel breakthrough discoveries that identified that inhibition of NMT results in specific cancer cell killing via an unexpected and unique mechanism. 

Myricx has discovered that its NMT inhibitors are proving to be highly effective in the treatment of MYC-driven cancer models. Until now MYC was considered to be undruggable.

Professor Tate said: “The funding will enable us to advance our breakthrough discoveries in cancer and brings us a step closer to fulfilling our vision of unlocking the potential of N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) as a therapeutic target. It also allows us to develop precision medicines for a range of diseases with unmet medical need.”

Dr Solari added: “Thanks to a supportive government environment the UK is an outstanding place for life science research and biotech commercialisation. 

“Raising £4.5m in seed funding is a testament to our breakthrough discoveries and promising future. Brandon Capital’s and Sofinnova Partners' expertise in growing early stage innovative companies will be of immense value to us and we will benefit from their support and experience.”

Protein myristoylation is crucial for several cellular pathways. Through its systems biology approaches, Myricx has unique insights into the mode of action of NMT inhibitors. 

Its deep chemistry expertise has identified many novel molecules with exceptionally high potency, selectivity, and attractive drug-like properties.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Dr Roberto Solari, courtesy Brandon Capital Partners

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