Emerging cell therapy firm raises £2.8m to help find ‘holy grail’ of regenerative medicine

February 22, 2019
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A Bristol firm aiming to develop novel lifesaving cell therapies has attracted additional seed funding from a group of major UK investors, bringing it one step closer to commercialising its ground-breaking cellular research.

Mogrify, which has its roots in research carried out at the University of Bristol, will use the funds to market novel IP and cell types generated using its proprietary direct cellular conversion platform. This will form the basis of novel therapeutics in areas including cardiac repair and cartilage regeneration. 

This latest funding round was led by Ahren Innovation Capita, with additional funding from 24Haymarket and Mogrify’s new CEO Dr Darrin M Disley.

The seed funding will enable the firm to advance its systematic big-data science approach, powered by next-generation sequencing and gene-regulatory data.

This is aimed at identifying the optimal combination of transcription factors (in vitro) or small molecules (in vivo), needed to convert – or transmogrify – any mature cell type into any other mature cell type without going through a pluripotent stem cell- or even a progenitor cell-state.

It is this approach that makes Mogrify uniquely placed to address the issues of efficacy, safety and scalability currently associated with cell therapy development and manufacturing, which is estimated to represent a $30bn market opportunity.

Through its internal development and partnership programs, Mogrify is also positioned to directly address growing markets that are unserved by approved cell therapies, such as cardiac repair and cartilage regeneration end-user markets, estimated to be worth $120bn and $7bn by 2022 and 2025, respectively. 

Director Prof Julian Gough, a leading expert in bioinformatics and honorary professor at Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, co-founded the company with his research collaborators after their work was published in Nature Genetics in 2016.

He said: “To have the backing of such high-profile investors at this stage in the company’s development is testament to the strength of both the Mogrify technology and the promised growth potential offered by a highly scalable business model. I look forward to working with Darrin as CEO. I believe we have a shared mission to transform the future development of lifesaving cell therapies.”

Dr Disley is a renowned scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion who has started, grown or invested in more than 40 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises, raising $500 million USD in business financing and closing $600m in commercial deals. He was appointed OBE in 2018 for his services to business and enterprise in the healthcare sector.

He added: “Direct reprograming between mature human cell types is a holy grail of regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical applications. We will commercialise the Mogrify cellular trans differentiation platform via IP licensing, product development, internal and partnered drug development. I am thrilled to be working with a world-class multi-disciplinary founding team, and a lead investor with founders of rarely matched scientific pedigree, as we rapidly expand to address the global cell therapy opportunity.”

 

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