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Cambridge cluster companies dominate the Biotech and Money Annual Awards


By Paul Brackley


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Horizon Discovery, Artios Pharma, F-star, Microbiotica and Bicycle Therapeutics are among the winners.

Cambridge’s dominance of UK life sciences was underlined at the Biotech and Money Annual Awards.

A host of companies and individuals from the Cambridge cluster were named as winners, with Horizon Discovery taking home the title of UK Public Life Science Company of the Year and its CEO, Darrin Disley, named UK Public Life Science CEO of the Year.

There was further success for the Waterbeach-based gene editing technology company when it picked up the Life Science Communications Strategy of the Year award too with Consilium Strategic Communications.

Meanwhile, Artios Pharma, a leading DNA damage response (DDR) company developing innovative treatments for cancer, earned the UK Life Science Young Company of the Year for firms aged one to three years.

It also picked up the UK Private Finance Raise of the Year (up to £25million), for its £25milllion Series A funding round with investors SVLS, Touchstone Innovations, Arix Bioscience, Merck Ventures, Abbvie and CRT Pioneer Fund. The award took into account the reputation of investors, value creation and post-finance performance in the criteria for winning the category.

Dr Niall Martin, chief executive officer of Artios Pharma, said: “I am delighted that Artios Pharma has been recognised by its peers through these two awards. Artios is building a pipeline of highly innovative, next generation DDR targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer, and these awards are testament to all the hard work and effort that the team at Artios, together with our high-calibre investors and collaborators, have put in since launch.”

Established in May 2016, the Babraham Research Campus-based firm is working with Cancer Research UK and DNA repair researchers worldwide to build its pipeline.

There was plenty more success for Babraham with Bicycle Therapeutics picking up UK Private Life Science Growth Company of the Year (under three years old). The firm is pioneering the use of a bicyclic peptides, or Bicycles, platform to develop therapeutics to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases. The Cambridge Independent reported how Bicycle Therapeutics had truck a deal with US-based Bioverativ Inc to develop haemophilia and sickle cell disease treatments that could eventually earn it $410million.

Runner-up in that category was F-star, the Babraham-based biopharmaceutical firm developing novel bispecific antibodies to fight cancer and other serious diseases.

F-star took home the UK Life Science Deal of the Year award for its 1billion euro immune-oncology collaboration with Merck. It beat Bicycle Therapeutics, and its $1billion peptide collaboration with Cambridge-based AstraZeneca, into the runner-up spot.

The deal helped F-star’s John Haurum win UK Private Life Science CEO of the Year, with Bicycle Therapeutics’ Kevin Lee named the runner-up.

Meanwhile, Microbiotica, a Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute spin-out which is developing microbiome therapeutics, was named UK Life Science Spin-out of the year (less than one year from spin-out).

CEO Dr Mike Romanos said: “Being selected for this award by our peers is a great endorsement of the strength of our science and the commitment of our talented team.”

It meant only three awards went to companies outside the Cambridge cluster. One of these was Oxford-based Carrick Therapeutics, which was named UK Private Finance Raise of the Year (over £25million) for its Series A funding round from investors including Cambridge Enterprise and Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC).

Runner-up was Bicycle Therapeutics for its £40million Series B funding round, which also involved CIC among others.

The awards were held on Thursday September 14 in London.



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