Celtic Pharma invests in Cantab, PolyTherics for ‘biosuperiors’

Biosimilars/News | Posted 19/02/2010 post-comment0 Post your comment

As reported by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News on 25 and 26 January 2010, Celtic Pharma Holdings is making an initial £5 million (about $8.1 million) investment in Cantab Biopharmaceuticals, Cambridge, UK. Cantab is wholly owned by the Celtic Pharma Holdings II LP (CP2) fund. The new CP2 funding will be spread over three years and will support the development of the firm’s first clinical-stage so-called ‘biosuperior’ biologic in haematology.


Cantab’s aim is to enhance previously marketed, off-patents through the application of cutting-edge advances in protein expression/engineering, process/manufacturing technology, protein conjugation, formulation, and drug delivery. The company’s strategy is to use its own biopharma process-development and manufacturing expertise along with complementary in-licensed expertise to develop a new generation of biologics that demonstrate improved bioavailability, immunogenicity, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Candidates will be developed up to Phase I or Phase II trials, before seeking development and commercialisation partners. While focused on the haematology field, in the longer-term Cantab aims to develop a pipeline of products in other therapeutic areas like infectious diseases.

Furthermore, Leverton Licence Holdings (LLH), a subsidiary of Celtic Pharma’s Celtic Pharma Holdings II LIP (CP2) fund, is to invest in a biopharmaceuticals research programme undertaken jointly by Cantab Biopharmaceuticals and PolyTherics in London, UK.

PolyTherics specialises in the use of biomedical polymers to optimise therapeutics. PolyTherics’ technologies include its patented TheraPEG™ approach to the PEGylation of therapeutic proteins and antibody fragments. Through the collaboration PolyTherics will receive an up-front payment and ongoing technical support. LLH has an option to submit another two proteins for research into the collaboration. LLH will also have an option to license products resulting from the joint research in return for paying PolyTherics a share of commercial sales.

Dr Keith Powell, Chief Executive Officer of PolyTherics, said: “We are delighted to establish a working relationship with CP2 and its subsidiary Cantab through this new therapeutic programme. Importantly, as we embark as a company on the development of our own bio-better products, we are excited to share in the rewards of product commercialisation resulting from this new collaboration”.

Commenting on the investment, Mr. John Mayo, Managing Partner of CP2 said: “The next generation of biopharmaceuticals will need to deliver increased benefits to patients, physicians and healthcare systems over the original products. We believe that PEGylation will be a key technology in addressing this need. Our investment in this project furthers our strategy of investing in companies and projects with well-differentiated technologies. Our commercial, regulatory, drug development and manufacturing experience will increase both the probability of success and the value of the products developed with PolyTherics. The advanced PolyTherics technology has proven itself elsewhere in this field and we are looking forward to working with the team and replicating its successes in our programmes”.


Celtic Pharma Makes $8.1M Investment in Cantab to Enhance Effectiveness of Off-Patent Biologics. GEN News Highlights. 2010 January 25.

PolyTherics and Cantab Collaborate to Optimize Biologics. GEN News Highlights. 2010 January 26.

Celtic Pharma Holdings and PolyTherics announce investment into novel biopharmaceutical programme. PolyTherics Press Release. 2010 January 26.

Source: GEN News Highlights; PolyTherics Press Release

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