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Mission Therapeutics raises £12m and deepens Pfizer relationship

Mission Therapeutics has raised $15m (£12m) in equity investment and expanded its relationship with Pfizer.

Mission Therapeutics' work in the lab
Mission Therapeutics' work in the lab

The Babraham Research Campus drug discovery and development company said the new capital would support the development of its world-leading DUB platform, and growth in its pipeline of DUB inhibitor programmes.

The round was led by existing investor Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of the biopharmaceutical multinational Pfizer Inc, which has supported the company since 2013.

Pfizer contributed a super pro rata amount in its latest equity investment, while all of Mission’s other existing investors joined the round on a pro rata basis, although no other financial details were disclosed.

Mission and Pfizer Inc have expanded their relationship by entering into an evaluation and option agreement for DUB target validation.

DUBs – deubiquitylating enzymes – are of great interest as potential drug targets.

Dr Anker Lundemose, CEO of Mission Therapeutics. Picture: Steve Rowe
Dr Anker Lundemose, CEO of Mission Therapeutics. Picture: Steve Rowe

A large family of enzymes, they play a key role in protein homeostasis, are involved in diverses cellular processes and feature in many disease pathologies.

The new agreement will enable Pfizer to access specific DUB inhibitors from Mission’s platform, and test them in phenotypic screens to validate promising drug targets.

Pfizer will have the option to negotiate target exclusivity for each of the DUBs of interest, but the deal does not include any of Mission’s own lead DUB programs, such as USP30.

Dr Denis Patrick, managing partner of Pfizer Ventures and member of Mission’s board of directors, said: “Since our initial investment in Mission seven years ago, the company has grown tremendously and the depth of its scientific expertise and capability has grown alongside it.

“We are proud to expand our relationship with the company and our scientists are looking forward to a successful collaboration in this important area of research.”

Mission Therapeutics' work in the lab
Mission Therapeutics' work in the lab

Mission CEO Dr Anker Lundemose added: “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Pfizer, one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies.

“We have benefitted from the valuable contributions of Dr Denis Patrick as a member of our board of directors and we look forward to working with the wider Pfizer team.”

A number of Mission’s USP30 inhibitor programs are in preclinical development, for indications including acute kidney injury, primary mitochondrial myopathy and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, familial Parkinson’s disease and mitochondrial disease.

It also has a partnered program in development with AbbVie in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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