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Apollo Therapeutics’ $145m fundraising follows collaboration at Cambridge, Imperial and UCL

Cambridge Enterprise has shared the role it played in developing Apollo Therapeutics,which last month completed $145million (more than £100m) financing.

Apollo was created to speed the development of therapeutics based on cutting-edge discoveries at three universities – Cambridge, Imperial and University College London (UCL).

Dr Ian Tomlinson
Dr Ian Tomlinson

It was conceived by the trio in 2011. In 2014, the team pitched the pioneering model to AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which embraced it. Finalised in 2015, the joint venture launched in 2016. In the ensuing years Apollo has sought the best science with the greatest potential to help patients. By bringing funding and industry expertise together with university breakthroughs, Apollo has developed projects to industrial standards and exceeded traditional development benchmarks of capital- and time-efficiency. Apollo now launches its next phase as a multinational company.

Apollo leverages a portfolio-based model, devised by Cambridge, Imperial, and UCL, with a centralised team of drug development ‘architects’ working alongside asset-level teams of subject matter experts.

Dr Ian Tomlinson, chairman of the Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee, said: “This is the first time that three global pharmaceutical companies and the TTOs of three of the world’s top 10 universities have come together to form a joint enterprise of this nature.

“Apollo provides an additional source of early stage funding that will allow more therapeutics projects within the three universities to realise their full potential. The active participation of the industry partners will also mean that projects will be shaped at a very early stage to optimise their suitability for further development.

“The Apollo Therapeutics Fund should benefit the UK economy by increasing the potential for academic research to be translated into new medicines for patients the world over.”

Iain Thomas, head of life sciences at Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s technology transfer arm, said: “Efficiently bringing together drug discovery expertise, potential customers, funding and project management, along with rapid decision making and execution through the Apollo Therapeutics Fund, is a unique and extraordinarily exciting and valuable proposition for any academic or company that wants to see early-stage ground-breaking therapeutic technology progress to the clinic for patient benefit and economic return.”

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