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updated 4:28 PM GMT, Dec 11, 2014
Technology and life sciences news from the Cambridge cluster

Former KuDOS team raises £6m, backed by £140m Imperial fund

Steve Jackson Laboratory group photoImperial Innovations has made its first Cambridge investment from the new £140m Oxbridge and UCL fund, participating in a £6m Series A round into MISSION Therapeutics

Based at Babraham Research Campus, the Cambridge University spin-out's therapies are based on the work of Professor Stephen Jackson, who previously founded KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, sold to AstraZeneca for $210m in 2006.

In a similar way to the work at KuDOS, which focused on DNA repair, MISSION focuses on the pathways that control cellular responses to DNA damage.

Its goal is to develop drugs that stem the flow of tumour cells by exploiting the concept of synthetic lethality, an established and powerful mechanism to selectively kill tumour cells.

The company was only founded this year by Professor Jackson who is head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at The Gurdon Institute, together with Dr Niall Martin, Dr Xavier Jacq and Dr Keith Menear, all four previously at KuDOS.

Prof Jackson will take the role of chief scientific officer while Dr Martin becomes chief operating officer.

"This is a great opportunity to continue to work with Professor Jackson to deliver high quality science and to develop drugs that will have a real impact on disease," said Martin.

Cancer Research UK's commercialisation arm, Cancer Research Technology, and Cambridge University are MISSION founding institutes.

Sofinnova Partners led the £6m round which also included SR One and Roche Venture Fund. Imperial Innovations takes a 15.7 per cent equity stake after putting in £1.3m.

Imperial Innovations started out like Imperial College London's (ICL) own Cambridge Enterprise, a company established to protect and exploit the university's research, which until last year focused solely on companies with direct links to ICL.

As reported in Cabume, in December 2010 it announced a £140m fund raising that extended its investment remit beyond Imperial College to Cambridge and Oxford universities and University College London.

Imperial Innovations has already made investments in UCL linked businesses, Stanmore and Autifony, but this is its first investment it has made in Cambridge.

Imperial Innovations CEO, Susan Searle, said it was now delivering on its objective of broadening its portfolio to include Cambridge, Oxford and UCL.

"This first investment in a Cambridge company is a significant step for Innovations," she said.