University of Dundee spinout firm secures one of the largest investments of its kind in Scotland

A University of Dundee spinout company has secured almost £40 million in a bumper funding deal that will further its work to develop drugs for a range of diseases.

Amphista Therapeutics has landed $53 million (£38m) in a Series B financing round – one of the largest investments of this kind to be made in Scotland.

The biopharmaceutical company is a spinout from Professor Alessio Ciulli’s labs at the university’s school of life sciences. It specialises in therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins.

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The investment round was co-led by Forbion and Gilde Healthcare, while additional investors include Novartis Venture Fund and Eli Lilly & Company. Amphista has now raised more than £45m from life sciences investment companies and funds.

Professors Alessio Ciulli and Sir Mike Ferguson at the University of Dundee. Picture: Kenneth MalcolmProfessors Alessio Ciulli and Sir Mike Ferguson at the University of Dundee. Picture: Kenneth Malcolm
Professors Alessio Ciulli and Sir Mike Ferguson at the University of Dundee. Picture: Kenneth Malcolm

Professor Ciulli, the scientific founder of Amphista, said: “My lab’s work at Dundee over the last eight years is recognised as world-leading in the field of TPD [targeted protein degradation], which is providing an entirely new way of tackling diseases. As a co-founder of Amphista, I am delighted to have contributed to its growth, and that the commercial potential of our ideas is starting to be validated.

“This very substantive financing round by a consortium of outstanding investors shows the originality and quality of Amphista’s assets and workforce. I am very proud of their achievements and look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength.

“Amphista is on-track to develop first-in-class and best-in-class medicines for unmet medical needs, and it is very exciting to see innovative science translate towards patient benefit,” he added.

The financing proceeds will be used to accelerate the company’s growing pipeline of potent and selective bifunctional molecules, known as “Amphistas” and to extend its proprietary next-generation targeted TPD platform.

This means that the business, which is based at BioCity in North Lanarkshire, could produce drugs of the future that will efficiently remove disease-causing proteins from human cells and allow new treatments for a broad range of diseases with high efficacy and reduced potential for drug resistance.

Professor Sir Mike Ferguson, Regius Professor of life sciences at Dundee, said: “The level of investment in Amphista is testament to the quality of the science emerging from the university and a sign of how that can be commercialised in a very exciting way.

“The university’s pipeline of new spin-out opportunities is stronger than it has ever been, and we are committed to growing the biomedical industry sector and creating new jobs and opportunities in Dundee and in Scotland. This will be hugely helped by the £25m Innovation Hub project that we are developing with funding from the Tay Cities Deal.”

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Amphista chief executive Nicola Thompson added: “This financing round, led by an outstanding investor syndicate, is a strong endorsement of our world-class team and our novel approach.

“Amphista will now accelerate its oncology pipeline towards the clinic and extend our portfolio into indications largely inaccessible by traditional TPD approaches, such as diseases of the central nervous system.

“This oversubscribed Series B supports our ambition as a world-leading next generation protein degradation company.”

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