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5 July, 2019 - 10:09 By Tony Quested

Wall Street warms to Bicycle history makers

Therapeutics powerhouse Bicycle is a history-maker in the sphere of life sciences. It can justifiably claim to be the first company to be headquartered in Cambridge at the time of an IPO on the NASDAQ technology market in the US.

It can also cite its credentials as a genuine trailblazer because its technology solutions carry a payload that goes way beyond cancer cures.

GW Pharma, now headquartered in Cambridge, has been on the NASDAQ market for some time but was based in Porton Down in Wiltshire when it switched from AIM to Wall Street.

Bicycle has Cambridge coursing through its veins and its DNA. While it has expanding operations in the US biotech capital of Boston, Cambridge remains the research mothership. And as the last week has demonstrated, this truly transatlantic business, has  a broad reach across a whole raft of therapeutics.

Bicycle made its Wall Street bow in June with a near-$61 million raise, valuing the enterprise at $14 a share.

While that price has steadied to $9.90, its stock – both in terms of share price and reputation for delivering on its promises – was further enhanced this week as it announced positive results in a trial of a treatment for diabetic macular edema, or DME, a disease that causes damage in the blood vessels of the retina that can harm vision. 

The company said the Phase 1 trial conducted by its research partner – Belgium-based Oxurion – was an outstanding success. 

Bicycle CEO, Kevin Lee said: “These trial results represent additional human clinical data generated using Bicycles, a new therapeutic modality developed using our proprietary technology. They also demonstrate that Bicycle Therapeutics has outstanding potential to deliver therapeutics that go way beyond cancer. Our proposition is truly agnostic.”

Lee says the NASDAQ float was part of a meticulously planned strategy that had been put in place more than three years ago. Management  knew Bicycle had what Lee calls “a unique platform” and studded that into its vision to grow the company internationally.

“We have a pretty strong startpoint as the only company on the planet that addresses therapeutic needs and clinical applications that cannot be reached with existing treatment modalities.

“We believe that the flexibility of our Bicycles and our powerful screening platform allow new therapeutics to be rapidly conceived and reduced to practice to potentially serve diverse therapeutic applications across a wide range of indications.

“Bicycles can be readily identified to drug a wide spectrum of targets and target classes, including many that have so far been undruggable with small molecules, such as protein-protein interactions.”

Lee said that when Bicycle assessed its growth options it was clear that NASDAQ was a market that encouraged ambitious young biotech companies and also stimulated investors who were biotech savvy. 

“You could be a loss-making company for a long time but investors will keep faith if you prove you will deliver on your promises.”

Lee says Bicycle has been operating as a truly transatlantic business for two-and-a-half years now and has recruited top-notch C-level hires in both Cambridge UK and Boston, with executives lured by working with such novel technologies and operating within such a clear roadmap to expansion.

“At the heart of our growth blueprint are three key strands: Enhancing the talent pool; gaining access to capital and improving proximity to partners.

“Again, I am completely agnostic in terms of where we achieve these objectives and whether we hire in the UK, Europe, the US or elsewhere in the world. We want the best talent regardless of geography. While the platform is based in the UK our appeal and potential is global.”

Lee is also excited about the range of therapeutic areas in which Bicycle’s technology is opening up potential cures with its talent pool and medical capability – beyond oncology indeed.

Lee said: “We continue to evolve our technology and validate it in different areas of unmet medical need. While the original focus was on oncology, we have set up significant collaborations outside of cancer. This enables us to work with some of the best people in the world across a vast range of therapeutics.

“The Oxurion collaboration is a great example of our flexibility and has been well received by American investors. It shows we deliver on what we say we can achieve and have a terrific balance of discipline and focus – and an asset-centric manner.

“Our collaborations with world-leading biotech and pharma players speaks to the power of our technology. 

“We never said we were going to replace existing technologies but were here to work in an intelligent manner and deliver what is do-able in terms of therapeutic advancements.

“Since I have been here we have focused on things that we could deliver on and we are locked and loaded ready to do just that to enhance value creation.

“Investors would appear to have bought into that vision; that we have made sure, first and foremost, that we have great molecules to address a broad range of medical needs.”

The company’s strategic collaborations are based on the ability of Bicycles to address a wide variety of targets. 

Through collaborations with AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Oxurion, Innovate UK and the Dementia Discovery Fund, it works with companies that have deep therapeutic expertise outside of oncology to enable the business to more efficiently develop novel medicines for patients.

 “And when everything is taken into consideration, it is delivering cures for patients that counts,” says Lee.

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