We have built an incredible production line for startup companies to bring early-stage technologies out of the research lab and translate them into patient benefit. Our startup portfolio secures funding from investors around the world who believe in our world class science and the power of partnership.
startups formed across therapeutics, diagnostics and medtech
investment raised by our startup portfolio
startup exits to date
investment raised by our startup portfolio in 2020/21
Abcodia Ltd is a biomarker company focusing on the validation of molecular biomarkers for disease diagnosis and personalised medicine. At the heart of the company is a unique biobank, the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS), founded in 2001 and led by clinical scientists at University College London.
UKCTOCS is the world’s largest prospective study for ovarian cancer diagnosis and will result in the generation of a collection of more than 5 million high quality serum aliquots (UKCTOCS sample bank), associated with clinical demographic and age-related disease phenotypic data from over 200,000 women across the UK. A wide range of diseases are now recorded across this aging cohort, making it amenable to the discovery of biomarkers and screening diagnostics for several therapeutic areas.
The UKCTOCS trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Adaptate Biotechnology is an immunotherapy company developing an innovative portfolio of therapeutic antibodies designed to modulate the activity of a patient’s own cytotoxic gamma delta T cells in situ. Their exquisitely targeted approach offers the potential to safely and effectively address the challenges often encountered by current cancer immunotherapies.
Gamma Delta Therapeutics spun out Adaptate Biotherapeutics in 2019. Both companies have benefitted from the support of King’s College London, the Francis Crick Institute and what is now Cancer Research Horizons.
Achilles Therapeutics is developing personalised T cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens – protein markers unique to the individual that are expressed on the surface of every cancer cell. The company is building on discoveries from our landmark TRACERx Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer study and research led by Achilles co-founders Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Clinician (University College London (UCL), the Francis Crick Institute), Professor Sergio Quezada (UCL) and Professor Karl Peggs (UCL).
Following the formation of Achilles Therapeutics in 2016, the company has rapidly moved from concept to clinic, and now has 2 programmes in the clinic for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Melanoma.
Established in 2006, Arquer Diagnostics is focused on the development and commercialisation of non-invasive immunoassay tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of urological cancer. Arquer tests are based on minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins, markers for the presence of dividing cancer cells, with MCM technology licensed from what is now Cancer Research Horizons.
Arquer Diagnostics was rebranded from UroSen in 2015.
Artios is a DNA damage response company formed by Cancer Research UK and SV Health Investors in 2016. Artios collaborated with what is now the Cancer Research Horizons' therapeutic innovation division (formerly Therapeutic Discovery Labs) to help develop its lead programmes. A significant milestone for the company was the entry of its ATR inhibitor (ART0380), entering Ph1/2a in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumours.
BioCaptiva is developing BIOCAPTOR, a revolutionary medical device that will transform liquid biopsy testing and enhance cancer detection. Dramatically increasing the amount of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) available for liquid biopsy testing, BioCaptor empowers cancer diagnostics and research capabilities far beyond what is currently possible.
BliNK Biomedical specialises in the discovery of innovative monoclonal antibodies.
BliNK Biomedical's powerful B cell technology enables the selection and isolation of specific antibody-producing cells for difficult targets from B cells of many species. This cutting-edge technology, based on the validated platforms (ISAAC and VIVA|Screen), constitutes a highly efficient and deep mining process and provides an unprecedented capability to identify very rare antibody-secreting cells from human and other species. This unique capability represents a major advantage compared to other technologies and enables the identification of unique therapeutic antibodies.
BliNK Biomedical SAS was created by Valneva and BliNK Therapeutics in 2015.
Cyted was founded in 2018 by a team of scientists and clinicians from the University of Cambridge, with support from what is now Cancer Research Horizons.
Cyted focuses on providing digital diagnostic infrastructure to drive the earlier detection of disease. Their technologies use artificial intelligence and novel biomarkers to unlock clinical insight and improve patient outcomes.
Enedra’s Mission: To develop the first drugs that combat cancer heterogeneity, the key reason for poor survival outcomes of cancer patients. They develop drugs for complete and durable responses to limit relapse, metastasis and save lives.
Enedra harnesses the power of Synthetic Lethality and Advanced Computational Systems Biology and discovers the first therapeutics that work against the complexity and biological and mutational heterogeneity of cancer.
GammaDelta Therapeutics was formed in 2016 by Abingworth with support from what is now Cancer Research Horizons. GammaDelta Therapeutics was founded on pioneering research funded in part by Cancer Research UK, led by Professor Adrian Hayday and Dr Oliver Nussbaumer at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute, into gamma delta (γδ) T cells. GammaDelta Therapeutics aims to harness the unique properties of γδ T cells to improve patient outcomes and survival rates among patients with haematological malignancies and solid tumours.
Incanthera is a revenue-generating, UK-based, oncology therapeutics company focusing on drug discovery and development of targeted medicines for the treatment of cancer.
Incanthera acquired Spear Therapeutics (one of our spinouts) in 2015. Spear Therapeutics was founded in 2003 with seed investors including what is now Cancer Research Horizons and Bloomsbury Bioseed Fund (BBSF).
iOnctura SA is clinical stage oncology company targeting core resistance and relapse mechanisms at the tumour stroma-immune interface. iOnctura’s best-in-class drug development programs combine immune-mediated and direct anti-tumour activity to deliver molecules with superior clinical efficacy and safety in oncology.
Its lead program, IOA-244, is the only semi-allosteric PI3Kδ specific, orally dosed, small molecule inhibitor that is being developed in solid and hematological malignancies to address tumour and stroma induced immune suppression. IOA-244 is currently in Part B of a Phase 1 study. iOnctura’s second program, IOA-289, is an oral small molecule that inhibits the cross-talk between the tumour and its stroma and is in a Phase 1 clinical study. iOnctura is backed by blue chip investors including M Ventures, Inkef Capital, VI Partners, Schroders Capital, and 3B Future Health Fund.
Founded in 2017 as a spin out from Merck, iOnctura and what is now Cancer Research Horizons have collaborated on a number of drug targets. IOA-289 was originally designed and synthesised in what is now Cancer Research Horizons' therapeutic innovation team (formerly Cancer Research UK’s Therapeutic Discovery Labs - TDL) which was also closely involved in its early development. From 2017 both iOnctura and the therapeutic innovation team collaborated closely on this inhibitor, resulting in the out-licensing of it to iOnctura in 2019.
Karus Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing precision medicines for cancer. It was launched as a spinout from the University of Southampton in 2005 with funding from what is now Cancer Research Horizons.
ManTRa Diagnostics has developed tumour-site-specific gene expression signatures to assess hypoxia which have the potential to deliver major advances in personalised cancer medicine.
Metabomed is developing a therapeutic strategy based on new drugs that inhibit metabolic enzymes which are vital for cancer cells’ survival. Metabomed identifies reprogrammed metabolic pathways specific and essential to cancer cells with genetically-enforced metabolic alterations. Those “induced essential” metabolic pathways uniquely support the growth and survival of cancer cells.
Metabomed was founded by three leading researchers in the field of cancer metabolism and computational biology: Prof. Eyal Gottlieb, at the time from Cancer Research UK’s Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, Prof. Eytan Ruppin from Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Tomer Shlomi from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
A team led by Professor Steven Jackson together with what is now Cancer Research Horizons and the University of Cambridge founded Mission Therapeutics in 2011 to commercialise expert research in the deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) field.
The company has received over £60M in venture capital from a syndicate of blue chip investors to maximise the potential of its world-leading DUB platform and advance a series of first-in-class small molecule DUB inhibitors through clinical development.
Monte Rosa Therapeutics was formed in 2018 by Versant Ventures, what is now Cancer Research Horizons and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) from Cancer Research UK-funded science at the ICR.
Monte Rosa Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of novel molecular glue degrader medicines. These medicines are designed to employ the body’s natural mechanisms to selectively eliminate therapeutically relevant proteins. The company has developed a proprietary protein degradation platform, called QuEEN™ (Quantitative and Engineered Elimination of Neosubstrates), that enables the rapid identification of protein targets and molecular glue degrader (MGD) product candidates that are designed to eliminate therapeutically relevant proteins in a highly selective manner.
The company’s drug discovery platform combines diverse and proprietary chemical libraries of small molecule protein degraders with in-house proteomics, structural biology, AI/machine learning-based target selection and computational chemistry capabilities to predict and obtain protein degradation profiles.
Neobe is harnessing the synthetic biology toolkit to engineer tumour-colonizing bacteria that locally disrupt this microenvironment. By acting locally within the tumour, these products avoid systemic toxicities while increasing drug efficacy. Disrupting these barriers and increasing immune cell infiltration in "cold" tumours will enable the success of immunotherapies in current non-responders.
PsiOxus was formed in 2010 through the merger of Myotec and Hybrid Biosystems (one of our startups) and it aims to be the world’s leading company in tumour re-engineering, delivering medicines of value to patients with cancer.
PsiOxus is a clinical stage oncology company pioneering systemic immune oncology products that drive sustained reprogramming of the tumour microenvironment to overcome the central challenge of resistance to therapy.
Their validated T-SIGn® vector platform can deliver multiple transgene payloads that re-engineer both primary and metastatic tumours. They have a rapidly expanding pipeline of novel monotherapy and combination products to dramatically improve outcomes for patients with cancer.
Revitope was established in 2014 by what is now Cancer Research Horizons and the University of Birmingham.
Revitope is transforming the way immunotherapeutic drugs are designed. As experts in antibody engineering with a deep understanding of the cellular processes underlying immune-based drugs, they are leveraging biological insights and proven protein modules to design “gated” immunotherapies – medicines with sophisticated built-in control mechanisms for precision tumour targeting and controlled immune activation.
Singula Bio is a seed-stage biotechnology company that was spun out of the University of Oxford. The company is focused on developing novel neoantigen-based cell therapies for patients with solid tumours. Singula Bio aims to become a world leader in providing individualised cell therapies for cancer.
Singula Bio has developed immunological, medical, surgical and computational technologies to develop selective therapies for difficult-to-treat solid malignancies such as ovarian cancer.
Storm Therapeutics is a University of Cambridge spinout developing first-in-class small molecule inhibitors of RNA-modifying enzymes in oncology. Formed in 2015, it is developing a leading platform to modulate RNA-modifying enzymes based on the ground-breaking research of Professors Tony Kouzarides and Eric Miska.
Storm is backed by blue chip investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, Merck Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, Taiho Ventures LCC, IP Group and Seroba Life Sciences, from which it has received greater than £30M to advance its disruptive technology.
Stratosvir passionately joins cancer patients in their fight for effective, safe, non-toxic cancer treatments that increase quality of life and survival. As a weapon, they are developing viral immunotherapy which has the potential to drastically improve the clinical treatment of solid tumours and their metastases.
ADC Therapeutics is advancing novel PBC-based antibody drug conjugates through clinical development to improve patient outcomes in multiple indications.
In June 2011, ADC Therapeutics was founded as a spinoff from Spirogen Ltd (one of our startups), which was founded in 2000 and was an early innovator in PBD-based antibody drug conjugate research.
ADC completed US$267M IPO in 2020.
Autolus is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation, programmed T cell therapies for the treatment of cancer. Using a broad suite of proprietary and modular T cell programming technologies, the company is engineering precisely targeted, controlled and highly active T cell therapies that are designed to better recognize cancer cells, break down their defence mechanisms and eliminate them. Autolus has a pipeline of product candidates in development for the treatment of haematological malignancies and solid tumours.
Autolus was spun-out from University College London in 2014, founded on the pioneering research of Dr Martin Pule.
Autolus completed $160.4M IPO in 2018.
Cyclacel, founded by Sir David Lane, a recognised leader in the field of tumour suppressor biology who discovered the p53 protein, was formed in 1996 by what is now Cancer Research Horizons and Merlin Ventures.
Cyclacel is a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cancer medicines based on cell cycle, transcriptional regulation, and mitosis biology.
Publicly-traded Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals was established by the reverse merger of Cyclacel with Xcyte Therapies, Inc in 2006.
Epistem is a leading company providing innovative services to accelerate drug development programmes.
Established in 2000 by Prof. Chris Potten and Dr. Cath Booth, Epistem's scientific foundation is based on several decades of ground-breaking stem cell research by Prof. Potten. Based at Cancer Research UK’s Paterson Institute for Cancer Research (now Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute), Prof. Potten identified and characterised the location and behaviour of stem cells in the intestine, skin, hair follicle and breast.
To support this revolutionary research, the team developed powerful models to understand the controls of epithelial cell turnover and methods to quantify tissue damage, regeneration and metaplasia. As a result of increasing demand from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for access to these models, Prof. Potten and Dr. Booth formed Epistem.
InferMed, a clinical decision support (CDS) technology company, was launched in 1999 as a joint venture with what is now Cancer Research Horizons. InferMed became a leader in providing software and services to the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and clinical research sectors with which it worked in close collaboration.
InferMed offered innovative software solutions for collecting and managing data. Through both its MACRO EDC application and Arezzo® decision support technology, InferMed’s products were designed to improve patient outcomes and help healthcare providers practise more efficiently.
InferMed was acquired by Elsevier in 2015.
Established in 2014, Inivata is a clinical liquid biopsy company focused on harnessing the potential of circulating tumour DNA to guide and personalise cancer treatment, monitor response and detect relapse. Inivata’s technology platform is based on pioneering research from the Cancer Research UK-funded Nitzan Rosenfeld laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge.
Inivata was acquired by NeoGenomics, Inc in June 2021 for $390M after it had previously made a $25M minority equity investment. Inivata is now the liquid biopsy focused subsidiary of NeoGenomics, Inc Group.
KuDOS Pharmaceuticals was one of our spinouts and was based upon the science of DNA damage sensing, signaling and repair to address unmet medical needs in cancer treatment. It was successfully exited and was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2006 for $210M.
Photo Therapeutics was established in the late 1990s based on patented technology developed by Colin Whitehurst, a researcher at Cancer Research UK’s Paterson Institute (now Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute). Photo Therapeutics was developing non-laser light devices, and associated skin care products for the treatment of a range of clinical and aesthetic dermatological conditions including non-melanoma skin cancer.
Photo Therapeutics was acquired by PhotoMedex, Inc in 2009.
Established in 2003, Piramed was founded by Professor Paul Workman (at the time Director, Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit), Institute of Cancer Research, Professor Michael Waterfield, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Professor Peter Parker, what is now Cancer Research Horizons, and Srinivas Akkaraju, JP Morgan Partners.
Building on a collaboration between us, the Institute of Cancer Research, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Company (now Astellas Pharma Inc), Piramed was developing drugs that target PI3-kinase.
It was successfully exited and was acquired by Roche in 2008 for $160M.
Sorrento is a clinical and commercial stage biopharmaceutical company developing new therapies to treat cancer, pain (non-opioid treatments), autoimmune disease and COVID-19.
Sorrento’s subsidiary TNK Therapeutics Inc acquired Virttu Biologics (formerly Crusade Laboratories) in 2017. Crusade was launched in 2000 by what is now Cancer Research Horizons and the University of Glasgow, to pursue the development of new cancer therapies from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).
Spirogen was founded in 2000 as a spin-out from several institutions including University College London and with partial funding by what is now Cancer Research Horizons.
Spirogen, a biotech company focused on antibody-drug conjugage technology for use in oncology, was acquired by AstraZeneca’s MedImmune in 2013 for an initial consideration of $200M and deferred consideration of up to $240M based on reaching predetermined development milestones.
Founded in 2010, the Native Antigen Company (NAC) is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of clinical reagents to the in vitro diagnostic, pharmaceutical and academic sectors. It offers a comprehensive portfolio of native and recombinant infectious disease antigens and related products. These include pathogen receptors, virus-like particles and antibodies for use in immunoassay applications, vaccine development and quality control solutions. NAC was one of the first companies globally to offer antigens for SARS-COV-2.
NAC was acquired by The LGC Group in 2020, and is now part of the LGC Clinical Diagnostics business unit.