Scottish immunotherapy company secures over £6m in funding

Published: 31 January 2017

Scottish immunotherapy company TC BioPharm has secured more than £6.25 million to press ahead with the development of innovative cancer treatments.

The company, based at Pentlands Science Park in Midlothian on the outskirts of Edinburgh, said the funds were provided mainly by Japan’s Nipro Corporation and the Scottish Investment Bank, augmented by several family-based investment sources.

TC BioPharm co-founder and chief executive Dr Michael Leek declared attracting Series A funding is a “really a big deal” for the company. He highlighted the scale of the deal and the importance of the backing from the Nipro Corporation, which led the investment round. Until now the funding secured by the firm to date in the Series C category, with investments made typically in the £1m to £2m range.

“It represents a little bit of a coming of age for the company.”  “We’ll be three years old in February, so we have gone from just myself and two other founders to 45 people in less than three years.

“This money, this £6.25 million worth of Series A funding will allow us to move from phase two into phase three, and also to start international trials in the US and Europe.”

Dr Michael Leek, TC BioPharm Co-founder and Chief Executive 

TC BioPharm said much of the investment will be used to move its lead product ImmuniCell towards phase III multinational clinical studies in the UK, European Union and America.

It said that data from ongoing phase II studies is “encouraging, initial patients are responding well, with an absence of treatment related toxicity or side effects”. TC BioPharm will progress the phase IIb clinical phase during much of 2017, with a transition to phase III studies towards the year end.

“The company has raised almost £9 million over the last 12 months. This places TC BioPharm in a strong position to commence confirmatory studies late 2017, moving towards marketing authorisation as efficacy data emerges in cancer patients.”

Dr Artin Moussavi, Chairman of TC BioPharm

“This fundraising represents an exciting step forward in the evolution of TC BioPharm. Scottish Enterprise has supported the company at each stage of its growth, from providing RSA grant support back in 2014 and SIB equity seed funding.

“We have continued to invest in the company’s future and are delighted to welcome the Nipro Corporation as a new investor into both the company and Scotland.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank

Highlighting his view that the “strategic partnership” with Nipro will go from “strength to strength”, Dr Leek added:

“Their goals are developing innovative regenerative medicine products, and improving patient quality of life. Their goals are exactly aligned with ours and have made it clear they want to be a major player in regenerative medicine. That’s why they have invested.”

TC BioPharm’s pioneering treatment, which will be used to treat patients with skin, lung and kidney cancer, involves using patients’ own cells to attack the disease. It centres on the cultivation in mass numbers of a type of white blood cell which naturally battles cancer, but struggles to fight the disease when it takes hold.

These gamma-delta T cells are removed from the patient and grown in huge numbers in TCB’s clean-room environment at Maxim Park in Lanarkshire. The cultivated cells are then injected into the patient intravenously by doctors at their clinics, with patients typically receiving six doses over a three-month period.

Phase one and two of the trials, which have been taking place in Glasgow, Edinburgh and in England under Professor Jeff Evans of the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, have focused largely on demonstrating the safety of the drug, by proving there is no “drug-related adverse toxicity”.

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