Edinburgh University spin-out raises venture capital

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EDINBURGH-based life sciences company Kynos Therapeutics has secured multi-million pound backing as it seeks to develop pioneering drugs to help tackle problems caused by inflammation.

The University of Edinburgh spin-out has raised £6.5million in a seed round led by Epidarex Capital and IP Group and backed by Scottish Enterprise, which said Kynos was developing an innovative drug portfolio of first class.

The funding announcement stated, “Kynos’ pipeline is focused on three key areas: in severe postoperative disease; under conditions driven by inflammation; and in cancers where inflammation prevents the immune system from fighting back.

The funding round reflects confidence in the potential of the actives being treated to combat the conditions concerned by inhibiting the production of an enzyme called kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO).

Elizabeth Roper, Partner at Epidarex Capital, said, “Kynos has a class-leading set of KMO inhibitors that we believe have potential in several therapeutic areas.

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Kynos has also received a £2.5 million grant under the Innovate UK program to fund what has been described as a first-in-man phase 1 clinical trial of its lead KMO inhibitor.

The company’s chief executive, Damian Mole, is Professor of Surgery at the University of Edinburgh’s Center for Inflammation Research. Scientific Director Scott Webster is a professor of drug discovery.

The announcement notes that the company’s KMO inhibitor pipeline was originally co-developed through a collaboration between pharmaceutical giant GSK and the University of Edinburgh and is now exclusively licensed to Kynos.

Kerry Sharp, Director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland is known globally for its strengths in life sciences thanks to its innovative businesses, incredible talent and world-class universities.

Epidarex has offices in Edinburgh and Maryland in the United States. The company has invested in a series of companies in Scotland. Its portfolio includes University of Glasgow spin-out Clyde Bisosciences, which has developed technology to assess the risk of toxicity in pharmaceuticals.

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