Edinburgh University cancer treatment spin-out launches with multi-million funding

An Edinburgh-based company working on therapies to overcome the resistance of existing cancer treatments has launched with more than £3 million in seed funding.

Elizabeth Roper, partner at Epidarex Capital and investor director at Macomics.

Macomics, which boasts “world-leading expertise in macrophage biology”, has secured £3.2m in a financing round led by venture capital firm Epidarex Capital, with the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, also investing.

The venture, which was spun out from the University of Edinburgh, will use the funds to develop novel immunotherapies designed to modulate macrophages, increasing the body’s immune defence against tumours.

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Company formation and in-licensing of the technology has been facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation service for the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Jeffrey Pollard, founder director of Macomics and 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.”

Elizabeth Roper, partner at Epidarex Capital and investor director at Macomics, said: “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 approach that Macomics is pioneering has significant potential in the treatment of cancer, as recent deals in the tumour-associated macrophage area indicate.”

Robert Haigh, who joins Macomics as its chief executive, said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Macomics. I’d like to thank Epidarex, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Edinburgh.”

Kerry Sharp, director at the Scottish Investment Bank, added: “This is an extremely exciting immuno-oncology spin-out based on outstanding academic research. We are thrilled to support it.”

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