Edinburgh-based oncology drug discovery accelerator eyes global growth

Cumulus Oncology, the specialist drug discovery accelerator, is eyeing global growth through new alliances, venture capital partnerships and a US office opening.

Alan Wise and Clare Wareing of Edinburgh-based Cumulus Oncology. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Clare Wareing, chief executive and co-founder of Edinburgh-headquartered Cumulus, sees additional growth opportunities in Europe and Asia. The business is also looking to add two more subsidiaries as well as further senior team appointments.

The firm was founded in 2017 to create spin-out companies around novel anti-cancer therapies that are fast-tracked through development, targeting cancers that do not respond well to existing treatments.

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It secured a £1.7 million investment round led by Eos Advisory last July and then in September founded its first spin-out, Modulus Oncology, alongside the University of Sheffield.

Wareing, an oncology scientist and entrepreneur who previously established and scaled Nexus Oncology before its acquisition by US-based Ockham Development in 2012, said: “We now have an incredible team in place and we’re collectively focused on developing and commercialising cancer therapies, while scaling the company from a base in Scotland.

“The business model at Cumulus enables us to keep pace with emerging scientific insights in the cancer research field. We are not one biotech based on a scientific discovery at a point in time, but a company that continually creates new biotechs in response to emerging scientific discoveries.”

The firm grew its headcount to 20 last year, when it also appointed a high profile advisory board – with Mohamed (Raz) Dewji, Chris Brinsmead, Ian Waddell and Nicola Broughton now supporting further asset acquisitions and future investment strategies.

Alan Wise, co-founder and chairman, added: “We are actively engaged in discussions with a number of international cancer drug discovery organisations and investment partners and look forward to sharing key milestones for Cumulus and the companies we create and manage in due course.”

Wise was the chief executive of Scottish biotech IOmet Pharma, which was acquired by US pharmaceutical group MSD (known as Merck & Co in the United States and Canada) in 2016, while fellow Cumulus co-founder Phill Cowley was head of chemistry at IOmet Pharma.

Cumulus Oncology creates and manages spin-out companies specifically targeted at developing novel anti-cancer treatments.

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