Ubiquigent announces £0.5m funding and strengthens board of directors with key appointment
Dundee, UK, 18th Sept 2013: Ubiquigent Limited a company specialising in ubiquitin cell-signalling system drug discovery capabilities and services, today announced it has received £0.5 million in funding from IP Group plc and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise. The investment will be used to accelerate the development and commercialisation of these drug discovery platforms. Ubiquigent has also announced an appointment to strengthen its board of directors. Joining the board as a Non-Executive Director, effective immediately, is Dr Mark Treherne. Mark has been active in the pharmaceutical industry for over 25 years. In this time, he has been involved in starting and raising over £140 million for a number of early-stage biotechnology companies. Amongst these, Mark was a co-founder and Chief Executive of Cambridge Drug Discovery, which was acquired by BioFocus plc. Mark has served on the boards of over 14 private and public biopharmaceutical companies in both executive and non-executive roles.
Located at the University of Dundee and with direct access to the leading scientific expertise of the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), Ubiquigent develops and provides a range of reagents, kits, assay development, drug lead compound profiling (including DUBprofiler for profiling deubiquitylase enzyme inhibitors) and other services. These products and services support academic and pharmaceutical researchers to understand the role of protein ubiquitylation in regulating many aspects of cellular functions and the development and optimisation of drug candidate compounds that target the system addressing a number of critical therapeutic areas. Ubiquigent already has a significant pharmaceutical and biotechnology client list and has delivered on a number of major high-throughput screening (HTS) assay development and compound profiling projects.
Involving the modification of proteins through the attachment of the protein ubiquitin, or ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls), ubiquitylation and related Ubl modifications are key to the control of cellular protein homeostasis as well as signalling, akin to the critical role played by phosphorylation (approximately 20% of compounds in drug development target phosphorylation enzymes), and holds similar potential for clinical utility. The ubiquitin system offers many new drug discovery target opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
The Company’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is chaired by Professor Sir Philip Cohen, FRS, a world leading expert on the role of protein modifications in cellular regulation and the translation of this knowledge towards the treatment of human disease. Also sitting on Ubiquigent’s SAB and contributing deep subject expertise are Professor Dario Alessi FRS (Director of the MRC-PPU) and Professor Ron Hay FRS. Commenting on the funding Professor Cohen said: “The potential for developing drugs targeted at the ubiquitin system is very significant. The funding for Ubiquigent will ensure that novel capabilities are developed to enable ubiquitin-system drug discovery thus facilitating the addressing of new therapeutic targets across a wide range of disease areas.”
Dr Mark Treherne said: “I look forward to working closely with the Ubiquigent team to support the company in the planning and execution of its strategy in this high growth potential field. I also welcome the opportunity to work again alongside Professor Cohen with whom I had a very productive commercial collaboration in the past.”
Dr Jason Brown, Managing Director of Ubiquigent Ltd, added “We would like to thank IP Group plc and Scottish Enterprise for supporting the Company at this stage of its development. I look forward to working closely with Mark Treherne and other members of the management and Scientific Advisory Boards to lead the business through the next phase and deliver new approaches that help realise the full potential of this key area of drug discovery.”
Phone: +44 (0) 7811996942
At Ubiquigent Ltd
Dr Jason Brown
Phone: +44 (0) 1382 388292
Ubiquigent Limited (www.ubiquigent.com) is a specialist developer and supplier of high quality reagents, kits and drug discovery assay development and compound profiling services to the academic and commercial life science research community worldwide. Ubiquigent’s interests have a clear focus; namely the ubiquitin, ubiquitin-like and integrated signalling systems. The company has established its scientific and business credentials with both academic researchers undertaking fundamental scientific discovery as well as with pharmaceutical and biotechnology company scientists undertaking ubiquitin system-focused drug discovery.
Ubiquigent benefits from high calibre backing including from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Dundee. The Company is located in a state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (founded by Professor Sir Philip Cohen) at the University of Dundee. In addition to Ubiquigent’s own facilities and capabilities, such proximity provides ready access to a significant range of additional scientific expertise, technological competence, and assay and analytical platforms.
About IP Group plc
IP Group Plc (www.ipgroupplc.com) is a leading UK intellectual property commercialisation company, developing technology innovations primarily from its research intensive partner universities. The Group offers far more than traditional venture capital, providing its companies with access to business building expertise, networks, recruitment and business support.
About Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Its role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. They support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. Scottish Enterprise also works with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.
The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is a division of Scottish Enterprise operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It manages a suite of funds including the Scottish Seed Fund; the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund, which are partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the Scottish Plastics Loan Fund and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund. SIB is also the cornerstone investor in the privately-managed Scottish Loan Fund and an investor in Rock Spring Venture’s Life Sciences Fund. These support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to capital. SIB also provides a team of financial readiness specialists to help companies prepare for new investment and more easily access finance.