After its First Success, the Virtual Biotech Team is Back at it Again

superx virtual biotech fundraising

SuperX has raised €10.3M ($11M) in Series A from Medicxi and J&J Innovation to develop anticoagulant antibodies for stroke and heart attacks.

The team behind XO1, which was acquired by J&J’s Janssen back in 2015, is repeating the whole process again. Their new company, SuperX, is also focused on the discovery of anticoagulant antibodies to treat stroke and heart attack without inducing bleeding. It has even raised €10.3M ($11M) in Series A, the same amount XO1 raised back in 2013.

As well as XO1, SuperX is a virtual biotech. This means that the company, based in the Babraham Research Campus south of Cambridge, will have no internal operations. Instead, it will outsource drug discovery and development to providers, most of them located on the same campus.

But let me introduce you to the team first. XO1 co-founders David Grainger, Jim Huntington and Trevor Baglin are now CEO, CSO and CMO of SuperX, respectively. Jo Davies gets the role of IP manager again, while Bob Schroff takes on as operations chief.

David Grainger (left), Jim Huntington (center) and Trevor Baglin (right)
David Grainger (left), Jim Huntington (center) and Trevor Baglin (right)

The specific target SuperX is behind is still unknown, but the team has revealed that it’s inspired from unusual patient cases, which was what led to the inception of XO1 too. In that case, a patient that reported symptoms of hemophilia turned out to stop bleeding naturally. Researchers identified the antibody responsible for it and developed an anticoagulant for stroke and heart attack that, unlike all of those in the market, doesn’t induce bleeding.

SuperX is an asset-centric company, focusing solely on the development of antibodies against a certain drug target that is still undisclosed. Medicxi, which led the financing round, specializes in this business model. It allows the company to use limited resources with the single aim of transforming a molecule into an asset that bigger companies will be interested in acquiring.

That’s exactly what happened with XO1, which was acquired by Janssen just 2 years after the company was founded. If everything goes well, SuperX could follow the same steps. J&J will keep its eyes on it as an investor through J&J Innovation.

Images from YuriiHrb /Shutterstock, Medicxi Ventures, Jim Huntington /Twitter, Southern Hemophilia Network

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