Mission Therapeutics, a Cambridge, England-based drug discovery and development company focused on selectively inhibiting deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs), raised $15m (£12m) in equity funding.
The round was led by existing investor Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). All other existing investors (Sofinnova Partners, Roche Venture Fund, SR One, IP Group and Schroders Adveq) joined the round on a pro rata basis. Mission and Pfizer Inc. have also expanded their relationship by entering into an evaluation and option agreement for DUB target validation.
The company intends to use the funds for the development of its DUB platform, as well as growth of its pipeline of DUB inhibitor programmes. Under the terms of the evaluation and option agreement, Pfizer will access specific DUB inhibitors from Mission’s platform and test these compounds in phenotypic screens to validate promising drug targets. Pfizer will then have the option to negotiate target exclusivity for each of the DUBs of interest. The deal does not include any of Mission’s own lead DUB programs, such as USP30.
Founded in 2011 and led by Dr. Anker Lundemose, CEO, Mission Therapeutics is an early-stage drug development company targeting the ubiquitin pathway for the treatment of kidney disease, neurodegenerative disease, rare mitochondrial diseases and fibrosis. The company has built a platform for the discovery and development of small molecule drugs that selectively target deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) – an emerging drug class that is attracting significant commercial interest in the area of protein homeostasis. Mission has links with key academic and research centers, including Prof. Steve Jackson’s Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the University of Cambridge Gurdon Institute, and UK centres in neurodegenerative diseases. The company also has secured major industry partnerships, including its collaboration with AbbVie in November 2018, for the research and preclinical development of specified DUB inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
To date, Mission has received £73m / $101m in funding. and is based at the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK.