Cambridge-based Bicycle Therapeutics has secured an equity financing of £20 ($32M) million which will allow for the clinical development of therapeutic bicycle drug candidates in oncology.
The funding will allow the company to press ahead with work which could bring forward new treatments not just in oncology but in other areas as well. Bicycle, a biotherapeutics company developing bicyclic peptides, has been developing its proprietary technology to discover a new class of drug candidates which have similar potency to antibodies but are 100-fold smaller and can be manufactured using simple economically-viable chemical synthesis. The new financing will support the clinical development of bicycle-drug conjugates (BDCs) that are highly selective to tumour-specific targets with sub-nanomolar affinities.
Preclinical models show that the BDCs extravasate and penetrate tissues much more rapidly and efficiently than antibodies, which leads to the rapid death of cells. This results in effective tumour lysis with minimal systemic exposure. Bicycle technology has broad applicability in areas including oncology, respiratory, inflammatory and ophthalmology diseases. The company’s projects in BDCs for oncology will be leveraged through a series of partnerships. The first partnership, with ThromboGenics, is developing bicyclic peptide drug candidates to a specific ophthalmology target for the treatment of diseases such as diabetic macular edema. Andrew Sandham, Chairman of Bicycle, said the latest funding was important because it allowed the company to press ahead with developments. He said: “This second round financing enables us to advance our BDC candidates to clinical development in cancer indications.
“We also have the capacity to work collaboratively with pharma partners on other targets and indications in many diseases.” Bicycle’s technology is based on the work performed at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge by the scientific founders of the company, Professor Christian Heinis and Sir Gregory Winter. The company is funded by Atlas Venture Novartis Venture Fund SVLS SR One and Astellas Venture Management. “This second round financing enables us to advance our BDC candidates to clinical development in cancer indications. We also have the capacity to work collaboratively with pharma partners on other targets and indications in many diseases.” Andrew Sandham Chairman of Bicycle