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10 January 2012

The North West Fund for Biomedical invests £375k to develop ‘smart bomb’ cancer drug

Press Release 10th January 2012

SPARK Impact, manager of the £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, has invested £375,000 in a University of Bradford spin-out for Merseyside based Incanthera Limited, for the development of a revolutionary new cancer therapy arising from its Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.

The University of Bradford has developed a 'smart bomb' treatment to target solid tumour cells directly using a unique linker molecule that allows highly toxic drugs to attack tumours with the potential of virtually no side effects to the rest of the body. This new and targeted approach to treatment has recently received worldwide media coverage*.

Incanthera, which has relocated to Merseyside, will use the investment to complete several pre-clinical studies adding significant value to its rapidly increasing data package. The investment will also be used to leverage further investment allowing the company to begin clinical trials by the final quarter of 2012. 

Dr Simon Ward, CEO of Incanthera, said: "In the current climate it is increasingly difficult to raise finance for any early stage drug development programmes, so I am very grateful to SPARK Impact for its faith and belief in not just the company but also the significant work already carried out by the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics."

Professor Laurence Patterson, director of the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, said: "The investment from the North West Fund for Biomedical means we can start to see the beginning of true commercialisation of more than five years' work in this area. We pledge our full support to making Incanthera as successful as possible."

The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of the £185m evergreen North West Fund that is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Dr Penny Attridge, Senior Investment Director at SPARK Impact and manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said: "I am delighted to announce this investment into Incanthera. It's a great privilege to be able to provide funds for such a high quality product developed by a world-class team in an area as important as Cancer Therapeutics. We are extremely optimistic about the project and we expect great things from Incanthera over the next few years."

Incanthera is the 13th investment for the North West Fund for Biomedical and the Fund's third largest investment over the last year.

The Fund to date has received more than 200 applications for funding and continues to receive a high volume of good quality investment opportunities. Dr Attridge continues: "We had a great first year managing the Biomedical fund and have completed 13 deals since June and are very much looking forward to continue to invest in many innovative and inspiring Biomedical entrepreneurs  in 2012."

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