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Pfizer leads £40.5m round for Southampton drug discovery startup

Curve Therapeutics
Image credit: motorolka / Shutterstock

Southampton-based drug discovery startup Curve Therapeutics has raised £40.5m in a Series A round led by Pfizer’s investment arm.

Founded in 2019, Curve Therapeutics is developing a platform to discover biologically active molecules against targets that the company said have been difficult to address using conventional drug discovery.

The Curve Therapeutics Microcycle platform examines the survival mechanisms of solid tumours and targets vulnerabilities in multiple cancers.

“Curve’s Microcycle platform is a powerful tool for drug discovery, enabling an unparalleled advantage in the discovery of functional hits and leads,” said Simon Kerry, CEO of Curve Therapeutics.

“We look forward to maximising the potential of our platform to further develop a rich pipeline of programmes with the potential to treat unmet clinical needs in a diverse range of diseases, including cancer.”

Alongside Pfizer, Curve Therapeutics received backing from British Patient Capital, Columbus Venture Partners, Advent Life Sciences and Epidarex Capital.

“Curve’s platform provides an exciting new approach designed to tackle tough, high-priority targets which have been difficult to progress in the past,” said Dr Marie-Claire Peakman, a partner at Pfizer Ventures.

“We are eager for the company to progress the platform with the goal of identifying new therapeutics for challenging diseases.”

The investment will support the startup’s development of its assets and expand the discovery platform beyond challenging and complex intracellular protein targets.

British Patient Capital’s £10m contribution to the round came from its £375m Future Fund. Last year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the mandate for the state-backed group to invest in later-stage startups and scaleups would be extended to 2033.

“The UK is a world leader in life sciences and Curve Therapeutics is yet another example of how this country continues to push the boundaries of innovation,” said Ian Connatty, managing director of British Patient Capital.

“Curve is developing a pipeline of first-in-class cancer treatments using its drug discovery platform. We are delighted to support them as they embark on the next steps in their growth journey”.