Iksuda Therapeutics was spun out from the University of Bath in 2007, originally under the name Glythera Ltd, based on technologies created in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology to develop antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer.

The spin-out company moved from the University of Bath to Newcastle upon Tyne as part of its initial funding and is now housed in bespoke laboratories built at the Biosphere, Newcastle Helix. In 2018 the Company announced a rebrand and corporate name change to Iksuda Therapeutics, due to a shift in focus from technology licensing to drug development.

The recent $47 million investment round was co-led by Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries, a leading asset management group and Celltrion Inc, a biopharmaceutical company with Premier Partners, a leading Venture Capitalist firm also joining the syndicate.

The investment will be used to take forwards the Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for IKS03, an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) for B-cell cancers, with IND approval anticipated in quarter four of 2021 and phase one human trials to initiating in quarter one of 2022. Clinical data on the compound is expected in quarter four of 2022.

Dr Andy Watts, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and Dr Amanda Mackenzie, Co-Deputy Head of Department, were involved in developing the bio-conjugation technologies at the University which saw the company spin-out.

Dr Watts led the development of the PermaLink platform which demonstrates conjugation stability. This stability removes the risk of de-drugging, enabling the effective use of a broad range of toxin payloads, which when conjugated to antibodies removes the risk of systemic toxicology and improved overall tumour exposure.

Dr Andy Watts says:

This investment from Celltrion and the Capital funding groups is a significant achievement for Iksuda which will profoundly accelerate the ability of the company to bring multiple new drug candidates into clinical trials. It is extremely gratifying to be involved with a company, initially created in our Department, now being in a position to impact the lives of cancer patients.

Iksuda’s current investment will also be used to accelerate the company’s earlier-stage programmes including IKS04 and IKS012 towards IND filing over the next 12 to 18 months.

Dr Dave Simpson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Iksuda Therapeutics, says:

The Iksuda team has further built on the PermaLink platform including adding prodrug payloads to its armoury to create a toolbox approach for the development of clinically differentiated ADCs whilst building out the company’s significant expertise through its UK and US facilities to become the partner of choice for the development of this significant modality in the treatment of cancer.

The successful spin-out of Iksuda was supported by the Technology Transfer team in Research and Innovation Services (RIS) at the University of Bath, including patenting the PermaLink platform technology.

Dr Phil Brown, Head of Technology Transfer in RIS, says:

It has been exciting to not only have supported the successful spin-out of Glythera Ltd, now Iksuda Therapeutics, but to watch it go from strength to strength; from the initial tranche investment from IP Group plc, the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) as it was then known, and University seedcorn funding, to recent multi-million dollar global investment, enabling Iksuda to take their ADC programme to clinic and more effectively target tumours of cancer patients.

See the Iksuda press release on closing the $47 million financing round

More on University technologies available for licensing

Contact our Technology Transfer team for more on research commercialisation: research-commercialisation@bath.ac.uk

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