£13.5m funds biopharma merger

A £13.5 million merger of two UK biopharmaceutical companies will create a new powerhouse in the space, operating from twin technology hubs in Cambridge and London.

London-based PolyTherics Limited has merged with Babraham Research Campus business Antitope Limited, a leading provider of antibody engineering and immunogenicity screening services.

The objective is to create an enlarged group with an extensive suite of services and technologies to develop better biopharmaceuticals – medical drugs developed using biotechnology.

PolyTherics is issuing new shares up to an aggregate value of £13.5 million to fund the merger and provide working capital for the enlarged group.

Imperial Innovations, which also now has a Cambridge base, led the investment and brought in new investor Invesco Perpetual with further funds provided by Mercia Fund Management and Advantage Enterprise & Innovation Fund.

The enlarged PolyTherics group will leverage its combined portfolio of proprietary and complementary technologies and services to address key needs in biopharmaceutical development.

The combined portfolio will include conjugation technologies to produce more stable and homogeneous antibody drug conjugates, technologies to optimise the pharmacokinetics of biologics, technologies for immunogenicity screening, technologies to re-engineer antibodies and proteins to reduce their immunogenicity, and cell line development technologies.

The group has a strong client base in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, including many of the world’s top companies.

Dr John Burt will continue as CEO of PolyTherics and Antitope will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary. Dr Matthew Baker will continue as chief scientific officer for Antitope and the company will retain its base, management and operational structure at Babraham.   

The expanded offering will provide the PolyTherics group with a broad technology platform for growth and a solid financial base with sustainable revenue streams over the short-, medium- and longer-term.

Growing revenues are derived from the services offered by Antitope and feasibility studies undertaken by PolyTherics and from pre-defined milestone payments under licence agreements for the group’s conjugation and de-immunisation technologies.

These licences also have the potential to provide future royalties on a portfolio of products which utilise the group’s proprietary technologies.

Dr Baker, CEO and CSO of Antitope, said: “The combination of Antitope with PolyTherics provides an excellent opportunity for us to expand and grow our offering to our existing partners.

“The combined company will have critical mass in terms of technologies, skills and resources and will enable us to leverage the full potential of our antibody engineering and deimmunisation platforms. We believe this move will enable us to support growing demand for our technologies from the global biopharma industry.” 

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