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Oxford’s SpyBiotech secures £23.5M to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccine technology platform

Image credits: SpyBiotech

Biotechnology company based in Oxford, SpyBiotech is a novel vaccine platform technology that targets infectious diseases, cancer and chronic diseases. Now recently, the company has bagged $32.5M (nearly £23.5M) Series A equity funding.

‘Plug and display’ vaccine platform technology

The Series A funding round was led by Braavos Investment Advisers along with participation from Oxford Investment Consultants. The round also involved founding investors Oxford Sciences Innovation and GV alongside the UK Government’s Future Fund. It turns a prior convertible loan into equity funds.

SpyBiotech will use the investment to advance the development of its novel vaccine technology platform based on its proprietary SkyCatcher/SpyTag protein “superglue” technology. The biotech company intends to begin a Phase I clinical study of its internal lead candidate, which targets human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) set for early 2022.

The Oxford company believes that its technology has broad applicability across a number of infectious diseases and in other areas including oncology.

Andre Crawford-Brunt, General Partner, Braavos Investment Advisers, commented: “SpyBiotech is built on decades of ground-breaking vaccine research. The potential of its platform technology offers significant scope to tackle some of the biggest challenges in medicine. Braavos Investment Advisers is thrilled to be on board as the company reaches a critical inflection point in its clinical development plans and we are delighted that Lutz Giebel will support with governance.”

James Wong, Principal, Oxford Sciences Innovation and Board Member, SpyBiotech, said: “We are proud to have invested in SpyBiotech since its inception, backing a mission-driven team from the University of Oxford focused on developing safe and effective vaccines that address global unmet medical needs. We’re delighted to have worked with GV to support Sumi and the team to attract a high-quality investor syndicate led by Braavos and an experienced Chair in Lutz.”

Dr Jane Smit, Oxford Investment Consultants, said: “We are thrilled to invest in SpyBiotech. The founders’ Jenner Institute vaccinology pedigree, together with their commitment to develop safe, low-cost, rapid deployment vaccines for unmet needs makes this a compelling investment.”

Appoints new chairman

Besides the funding round, SpyBiotech appointed Lutz B. Giebel as Chairman. This appointment is the first step on the journey, providing strengthened governance and oversight as the company expands. Notably, Lutz has significant operational, governance and investment experience of over 30 years in biopharma in the US. He served the boards of 16 biopharma companies and played major executive positions including Managing Partner at SV Life Sciences. Furthermore, it strengthens its Board by appointing Andre Crawford-Brunt, General Partner, Braavos Investment Advisers.

These developments follow a pivotal year for SpyBiotech, which in September 2020 signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for the development of a novel virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine targeting COVID-19. The vaccine candidate uses the SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein “superglue” technology to display the coronavirus spike protein on the surface of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) VLPs. SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, initiated clinical trials of the RBD vaccine candidate in September 2020, providing initial clinical validation for SpyBiotech’s platform technology.

Lutz B. Giebel, Chairman, SpyBiotech, said: “SpyBiotech has a unique platform technology based on decades of vaccine scientific excellence. The COVID-19 vaccine development programme has shifted the company into an accelerated phase of development. I’m looking forward to supporting Sumi and the team and working with our incoming and existing investors to move this exciting vaccine platform through clinical development.”

Professor Sumi Biswas, Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder of SpyBiotech, commented:
“SpyBiotech is delighted to welcome our new investors and Chairman. Braavos and OIC complement our existing register of supportive and sophisticated investors and Lutz Giebel brings years of governance experience and expertise. These developments position us well as we accelerate our clinical development programme.”