Cambridge – Amongst the historic colleges and cloistered walls of one of the world’s oldest universities there is pioneering research going on, and not only that, it’s potentially being translated into potential new cancer treatments.
Dr Laura Itzhaki (Twitter: @LauraItzhaki) is professor of structural pharmacology at the University of Cambridge. She is also founder and chief scientific officer of a start-up biotech company, which is focused on the discovery and development of a new class of drugs called polyproxin molecules.
Prof Itzhaki’s research is the basis of the science and intellectual property behind PolyProx Therapeutics, and the company earlier this year received £3.4 million in seed financing. This may not be a huge deal in US terms, where we’ve seen some truly mind blowing Series A financing rounds for start-up cell therapy companies, but it’s not inconsequential in UK terms. We’ve also seen with today’s £100M Series B funding announcement for Stevenage based Achilles Therapeutics (whom we profiled a year ago) that early stage UK companies can indeed go on to big things.
Basic science is the backbone of cancer research – let’s not forget that translating the new discoveries into the clinic is how new products are developed and it’s exciting to see an increasing number academics take the next step on that journey.
During a visit to Cambridge this year, Prof Itzhaki kindly spoke with BSB about her research and the direction PolyProx hopes to travel. It’s very early stages for the company, yet it’s a story we very much look forward to following, and one I expect we will hear more from, as other companies look to partner with them in the future….