MiroBio has spun out of the University of Oxford with a Series A round of €30M (£27M) to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases that don’t disrupt the immune system as a whole.
The big Series A round accompanying MiroBio’s launch was co-led by the university’s investor partner Oxford Sciences Innovation and the US investor Samsara Biocapital. MiroBio will use the money to fund the preclinical development of antibody drugs for unspecified autoimmune diseases. The company will also expand its drug discovery efforts to other unspecified disease areas and grow its management team.
Current treatments for autoimmune diseases include immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids and antibodies such as Janssen’s Infliximab. However, these treatments are unable to target the underlying cause of the disease and can leave the immune system less able to fight against pathogens.
To address this problem, MiroBio is developing a new class of antibody drugs. These antibodies activate ‘braking’ mechanisms such as the cell surface protein PD-1 on immune T cells. This prevents the immune cells from attacking the body, without disrupting the ability of the immune system to fight external threats.
Other companies share MiroBio’s aim of blocking specific parts of the immune system to treat autoimmune diseases. The French company HiFiBio recently raised a €60M Series C to fund the development of antibody drugs that can activate cells called regulatory T cells, which are important in stopping autoimmune attacks. The Dutch biotech Citryll is developing antibodies that block specific immune cells called neutrophils, which can trigger autoimmune responses when they fight infections.
Over the last month, Europe has seen several examples of biotech companies launched with large Series A rounds. Just last week, the Danish immunotherapy company STipe Therapeutics’ launch made a big splash with a €20M Series A round. The UK cancer biotech Divide and Conquer exited stealth mode last month with a Series A round of €11.3M.
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