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28 July, 2021 - 21:35 By Tony Quested

PolyProx finesses business model to pursue commercial success

PolyProx Therapeutics, one of the Cambridge life science cluster’s most exciting startups, has finessed its business model to hurdle some challenges to its commercial progress.

The company is developing polyproxin® molecules that target and remove disease-causing proteins using the natural degradation machineries contained within the cell. 

Polyproxin™ molecules target disease-causing proteins within tumour cells and trigger pathways to eliminate these proteins, thereby halting further growth of the tumour.

This approach has the potential to address cancer targets that have proven untreatable using current technologies, important in major diseases such as lung, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

The technology behind this approach uses protein scaffolds to link a targeting entity at one end and a degradation trigger at the other, assembled in such a way as to allow access to the tumour cell and recyclable activity.

A spin-out from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge, PolyProx is based on over a decade of research and intellectual property from founder Professor Laura Itzhaki’s laboratory. 

Investors and supporters rate it as fantastic technology but highly complex. To get round some barriers to progress that will optimise the potential of the technology, PolyProx has partnered an established partner to work through some technical issues. And it has pulled up the anchor of being based at Babraham Research Campus and switched to a virtual outsourced model of working.

Business Weekly also understands that the company has enough cash to get through the next year or so, although a further raise shouldn’t be ruled out.
Steered by serial Cambridge biotech entrepreneurs Kevin Moulder (chief operating officer) and Andrew Sandham (executive chairman), the company initially raised big money to deliver in vivo proof of concept data for polyproxin® molecule leads against two oncology drug targets. 

In the last round, LifeArc joined existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, RT Capital and Cambridge Enterprise.

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