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Alchemab Therapeutics raises £60m in ‘elite’ Series A backing

Alchemab Therapeutics, which focuses on harnessing the power of the immune system to cure disease, has raised £60million in a Series A financing round.

Dr Jane Osbourn, CSO at Alchemab Therapeutics. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Jane Osbourn, CSO at Alchemab Therapeutics. Picture: Keith Heppell

The funding is a huge vote of confidence in its novel platform for identifying disease-modifying antibody therapeutics

The proceeds will be used to advance lead programmes in neurodegeneration and cancer using the Babraham Research Campus’ company’s “elite controllers” model. These “especially resilient individuals” are able to overcome or resist disease in ways that could prove of significance to others.

The approach interrogates the entire antibody repertoires of individuals from well-defined groups who show unexpected resistance to disease despite genetic disposition or other risk factors predicative of a poor prognosis. Using the ensuing insights, Alchemab can identify naturally protective antibodies with therapeutic potential. The company currently has several programmes at the preclinical stage.

The highly-specialised patient samples that power Alchemab’s engine are made available through valued partnerships and collaborations with patient groups, biobanks and academic institutes.

The international investment syndicate behind the finance round is led by RA Capital Management, with participation from Lightstone Ventures, Data Collective VC, DHVC, SV Health Investors and the Dementia Discovery Fund.

The company was created by SV Health Investors who led the seed round in 2019. Alchemab’s approach was developed with support from scientific founders at Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University and Mount Sinai Hospital. Alchemab is among the first commercial group to access Illumina’s Cambridge Accelerator.

Alex Leech, CEO of Alchemab Therapeutics
Alex Leech, CEO of Alchemab Therapeutics

The core management team consists of CEO Alex Leech, CSO Dr Jane Osbourn and head of research Dr Ralph Minter.

“Our aim is to become a major player in the identification of novel targets and antibodies in the areas of neurodegeneration and cancer,” said Alex. “The substantial financial commitment by this high-calibre group of US and European investors is a strong endorsement of our science and team.”

His colleague and co-founder, Dr Osbourn, added: “Our approach to understanding the natural immunological response to disease and why some people are able to stay well has huge potential to identify antibody therapies across a range of indications. The Series A financing offers a great opportunity to accelerate our efforts to positively impact the lives of patients.”

Last month, Alchemab announced the award of an Innovate UK grant to support the development of a novel disease-modifying antibody therapy for Huntington’s disease, in collaboration with the Medicines Discovery Catapult.

Dr Houman Ashrafian, managing partner at SV Health Investors, commented: “Alchemab is a brilliant company driven by science.

“The company combines elements of traditional drug discovery techniques with advanced analytics, and in doing so turns the conventional biotech model upside down.”

Dr Andrew Levin, managing director at RA Capital, added: “It is a privilege to work with this exceptional team. Alex, Jane and the scientists at Alchemab are offering a truly innovative, disease-agnostic approach that we believe has great potential for the development of novel therapeutics.”

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