Three global pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and the technology transfer offices of universities (Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge have teamed up to create a new £40m fund.
The Apollo Therapeutics Fund aims to support the translation of academic science from within these universities into new medicines for a broad range of diseases. All therapy areas and modalities, including small molecules, peptides, proteins, antibodies, cell and gene therapies will be considered as areas of interest.
Apollo will advance academic preclinical research to a stage at which it can either be taken forward by one of the industry partners following an internal bidding process or be out-licensed. The three industry partners will also provide R&D expertise and additional resources to assist with the commercial evaluation and development of projects.
Each of the three industry partner companies will contribute £10m over 6 years to the venture. The technology transfer offices (TTOs) of the three university partners – Imperial Innovations Group plc, Cambridge Enterprise Ltd Limited and UCL Business PLC – will each contribute a further £3.3m.
The initiative will be led by Dr Ian Tomlinson, former Senior Vice President, Worldwide Business Development and Biopharmaceuticals R&D, for GSK and founder & Chief Scientific Officer of Domantis Limited, who has been appointed Chairman of the Apollo Therapeutics Investment Committee (AIC).
The AIC will be advised by an independent Drug Discovery Team (DDT) of ex-industry scientists who will be employed by Apollo to work with the universities and their TTOs to identify and shape projects to bring forward for development.
Apollo will be based at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. Once funded, projects will be progressed by the DDT alongside the university investigators, with other external resources and also in-kind resources from the industry partners as appropriate. For successful projects, the originating university and TTO will receive a percentage of future commercial revenues or out-licensing fees and the remainder will be divided amongst all the Apollo partners.