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The University of Southampton

University spinout, Curve Therapeutics, raises £40.5m to turbocharge discovery platform

Published: 27 February 2024
Professor Ali Tavassoli

  • Series A financing led by Pfizer Ventures with new investors Columbus Venture Partners and British Patient Capital which join founding investor Advent Life Sciences and seed investor Epidarex Capital
  • Goal to advance proprietary discovery platform and progress pipeline of assets addressing challenging cancer targets into the clinic

University of Southampton spinout Curve Therapeutics , a private biotechnology company pioneering a revolutionary intracellular screening platform addressing complex and challenging disease targets, today announces the close of its successful £40.5 million Series A financing. Pfizer Ventures led the round with participation from Columbus Venture Partners and British Patient Capital, which join founding investor Advent Life Sciences and co-lead from the seed round, Epidarex Capital.

Curve’s powerful Microcycle® platform enables the direct discovery of biologically active molecules against targets that have been difficult to address using conventional drug discovery methods. Curve has built a discovery pipeline of assets including a first-in-class dual-inhibitor of HIF-1 and HIF-2 that addresses survival mechanisms in more than half of solid tumours, and a first-in-class inhibitor of ATIC dimerization that targets an important vulnerability in multiple cancers. The financing will enable the Company to progress development of these assets rapidly towards clinical development and to expand the discovery platform beyond challenging and complex intracellular protein targets.

Simon Kerry, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Curve Therapeutics, said: “This financing will enable us to expand our team, progress our lead assets into the clinic and to expand our drug discovery platform. We welcome our new investors alongside our existing strong syndicate and look forward to working together to take Curve to its next stage of growth.”

Professor Ali Tavassoli, Chief Scientific Officer of Curve Therapeutics, added: “Curve’s Microcycle platform is a powerful tool for drug discovery, enabling an unparalleled advantage in the discovery of functional hits and leads. 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.”

Dr. Marie-Claire Peakman, Partner at Pfizer Ventures, commented: “We are delighted to have led this financing and to work with great co-investors and leadership team.  Curve’s platform provides an exciting new approach designed to tackle tough, high priority targets which have been difficult to progress in the past. We are eager for the Company to progress the platform with the goal of identifying new therapeutics for challenging diseases.” 

Curve’s platform allows functional screening and enrichment of highly diverse, gene-encoded, Microcycle libraries within the cytoplasm of mammalian cells to identify library members that have a desired biological activity against a therapeutic target. Importantly, the compact size of Microcycles enables their transformation to non-peptide small molecules for lead optimisation and development, an unparalleled advantage compared to other cyclic peptide technologies.

Curve occupies state of the art laboratories at the Southampton Science Park, a move prompted by the expansion of the Company’s research team which included the recent appointments of Dr Monika Ermann as Vice President of Drug Discovery, and Dr Sally Price as Vice President of Biology. With four regional Universities and pioneering medical institutions such as the Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, Hampshire is an attractive location for life science companies, and just an hour from key biotech centres in Oxford and London.

Click here for more information on Curve Therapeutics.


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