Imperial Innovations Group plc leads £5.6M funding round in Myotec Therapeutics
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


LONDON—March 1 saw Imperial Innovations Group plc, a technology commercialization and investment company, announce that it had led a £5.6 million funding round in Myotec Therapeutics, with an investment of £2.8 million to fund the development of novel treatments in the field of wasting  diseases. Co-investor Invesco Perpetual also provided £2.8 million.

Myotec is developing a pipeline of small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of the wasting diseases cachexia and sarcopenia. This investment, led by Innovations, will enable Myotec to progress its lead product, MT-102, into two Phase II clinical studies in 2010. The first clinical study will be for the treatment of cancer cachexia, which is estimated to be the direct cause of death in 20 percent to 40 percent of all cancer patients.

MT-102 is said to have "a unique double mode of action that is well suited to treating the complex pathophysiology of cachexia and sarcopenia," according to Innovations and Myotec.

"Cachexia is a significant health problem affecting nearly eight million people in Europe and the U.S.," notes Susan Searle, Imperial Innovations' chief executive. "Tackling problems of this kind of scale requires world-class science backed by the necessary funding to progress treatments through the clinic."

The second clinical study will be for the treatment of sarcopenia, the age-related muscle wasting disease that affects more than 20 percent of people by the time they reach the age of 60.

"Innovations has given Myotec significant support in its early stages and with this substantial new investment we are now able to accelerate the clinical development of our promising treatments for life-threatening wasting diseases," says John Beadle, CEO of Myotec Therapeutics.

Myotec was founded around the work of Stefan Anker, a professor of cardiology and cachexia research at Charité Hospital Berlin, and Andrew Coats, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Sydney, while they were both at Imperial College London.

In addition to funding, Innovations has played a pivotal role in the recruitment of Myotec's senior team. Beadle, for example, helped form Myotec while serving as an entrepreneur in residence at Innovations. Michael Moore, formerly CEO of Piramed (which was acquired by Roche in April 2008), was headhunted by Innovations to become chairman.

Innovations has also supported Myotec to secure patents for its technologies and assisted with a commercial transaction to acquire a licence to key clinical data for MT-102. Innovations was instrumental in attracting £2.8 million co-funding from Invesco, itself a shareholder in Innovations. Following the investment, Innovations will hold a 47.2 percent stake in Myotec.  Simon Kerr, director  of bioscience ventures at Imperial Innovations has joined the board of Myotec.

"Myotec is an important emerging company in our life sciences portfolio and we believe it has the potential to address important unmet medical needs," Searle says. "We are pleased to be able to provide the funding and strategic support to enable it to progress its pipeline."     

Innovations has exclusive access to scientific and technological developments coming out of Imperial College London, one of the world's leading research institutions. It has a portfolio of 80 companies, and has already achieved significant success with its early investments; for example its £1.5 million investment in obesity drug developer Thiakis could return up to £22 million, following its sale to Wyeth for £100 million in 2008. In the year leading up to July 2009, Innovations invested £14.4 million in 20 ventures, helping to launch six new companies.
Myotec's Web site was still under construction as of the time of this posting, but a datasheet can be found at Imperial Innovations' site by clicking here.

Code: E03011001