Novel immuno-therapies to overcome the resistance of existing cancer treatments
Builds on the world-leading research into tumour associated macrophages (TAMs)
Robert Haigh joins as CEO & Jane Dancer as NED
Edinburgh, UK, July 14, 2020 – Macomics Ltd, an immuno-oncology company with world-leading expertise in macrophage biology, launches today with a £3.2 million seed financing round led by transatlantic VC Epidarex Capital, with the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, also investing. Company formation and in-licensing of the technology has been facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation service for the University of Edinburgh. Macomics, which was spun out from the University of Edinburgh, will use the proceeds of this fundraising round to develop novel, first-in-class immunotherapies designed to modulate macrophages, increasing the body’s immune defence against tumours.
Macomics’ approach is based on leading academic research around macrophage biology, particularly in cancer, from the laboratory of Professor Jeffrey Pollard, Director of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, working with co-founder Dr Luca Cassetta.
Cancer cells are known to be able to evade destruction by the immune system and tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) are a key component of this immuno-suppressive and pro-tumoral ecosystem. Modulating TAMs will alter the tumour microenvironment enhancing the body’s ability to fight cancer. Using its proprietary technology, Macomics has identified novel targets that are highly upregulated in TAMs compared to other cell types, providing a great opportunity to selectively target the tumours.
In parallel with the financing, Macomics has appointed biotechnology industry experts Dr Robert Haigh and Dr Jane Dancer as CEO and Non-Executive Director respectively. Dr Robert Haigh has worked extensively in R&D in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, with roles at Ferring and Boehringer Ingelheim, where he was involved in oncology research. He was pivotal in the formation and development of Vantia Therapeutics and KalVista, including fundraising and business development deals. Dr Haigh is also the Executive Chairman of Ikarovec, an ophthalmology-focused gene therapy company. Dr Jane Dancer is a business development expert with over 30 years’ experience in the life science industry across biotech, pharma and agrochemicals. She was formerly Chief Business Officer at F-star, VP Business Development at Cellzome and Director, Business Development at Cambridge Antibody Technology Ltd.
Professor Jeffrey Pollard, Founder Director of Macomics & Director of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh said, ‘Decades of research into macrophage biology, particularly that of tumour-associated macrophages, have made it very clear to me that this is an area of significant untapped potential for the development of novel cancer therapeutics. The creation of Macomics based on the research of my group at the University of Edinburgh provides the team with an exciting opportunity to develop new effective cancer drugs against macrophage targets, that will bring real clinical benefit to many more patients suffering from cancer.’
‘We have known Jeff and his team and followed their world-leading research in macrophage biology for some time and are delighted to be leading this investment that triggers the launch of Macomics. This is one of the first investments from our new Epidarex Capital III UK fund that was announced recently. Despite the good progress that immunotherapies have brought to the treatment of cancer, addressing the hostile tumour environment remains a major obstacle to achieving better clinical outcomes in a broader patient population. The macrophage-based approach that Macomics is pioneering has significant potential in the treatment of cancer, as recent deals in the tumour-associated macrophage area indicate. We look forward to working with the team to support Macomics’ growth and to help it realise the potential of its world-class science,’ said Dr Elizabeth Roper, Partner at Epidarex Capital & Investor Director at Macomics.
Dr Robert Haigh, CEO of Macomics, said, ‘With its seed financing round providing the funding to develop its tumour-associated macrophage target discovery platform and pipeline, this is an exciting time to be joining Macomics. I’d like to thank Epidarex, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Edinburgh for their support and look forward to working with them as we progress Macomics to provide novel, first-in-class drugs for cancer.‘
Kerry Sharp, Director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: ‘This is an extremely exciting immuno-oncology spin-out based on outstanding academic research. We are thrilled to support it alongside Epidarex Capital.’
Photographs available on request.
For further information, please contact:
Robert Haigh, CEO
Emma Palmer Foster, Communications + 44 (0)7880 787185
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Sylvie Berrebi, David Dible, Frazer Hall, Mark Swallow PhD
+44 (0)20 7638 9571 | +44 7714 306525
Scottish Investment Bank
University of Edinburgh
PR & Media Manager
+44 (0) 7557 820266
Group Leader Marketing
+44 (0) 7817 124867
Notes to Editors
About Macomics Ltd
Macomics is an early stage immuno-oncology company developing first-in-class cancer therapies which target cancer immune evasion pathways. The Company’s world-leading expertise in macrophage biology seeks to develop new therapeutics that capitalise on the known differences in the genes macrophages express in normal versus diseased tissue, and across various cancers.
Using its proprietary technology, pioneered by Professor Jeffrey Pollard and Dr Luca Cassetta, Macomics has identified novel targets that are highly upregulated in tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) compared to other cell types, providing a great opportunity to selectively target the tumours.
Macomics, a spin out from the University of Edinburgh, raised £3.2 million in a seed round led by Epidarex Capital, a transatlantic life science VC, with the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, also investing.
About Epidarex Capital
Epidarex Capital is a transatlantic venture firm that invests in early-stage, high-growth life science companies in under-ventured markets. Epidarex focuses on providing risk capital and expertise to create, support and build young companies, including spinouts, from leading research institutions in both established and emerging life science hubs. The fund’s international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market.
About the Scottish Investment Bank
The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
SIB’s activities support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital and loan funding. It helps ambitious Scottish companies get the right level of funding from the right sources at the right time, through building relationships with both domestic and international investors.
SIB manages a suite of co-investment funds including the Scottish Co-Investment Fund, the Scottish Venture Fund and the Energy Investment Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. SIB is also an investor in Epidarex Capital’s Life Sciences Fund and administers the Scottish Loan Scheme, with funding secured from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Growth Scheme.
Furthermore, SIB provides funding into LendingCrowd, Scotland’s marketplace lender providing loans to SMEs, and Maven’s Regional Buyout Fund (MBO) that offers financial support for management buyouts (MBOs) and helps existing management teams acquire businesses from their owners so they can continue to flourish.
SIB’s team of financial readiness specialists help companies prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance.