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04 August 2017

Causeway Therapeutics announces seed investment

A University of Glasgow spinout which is developing a promising new treatment for tendon problems in humans and horses has received a £1m investment from Mediqventure and the Scottish Investment Bank the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise .

Causeway Therapeutics, a University of Glasgow spinout company, focuses on the development of therapies for tendon injuries and disorders, collectively known as tendinopathies. Tendinopathies are common, accounting for 30-50% of all sporting injuries. Around one in 10 people will be affected by tendinopathies during their lifetime, usually caused by repetitive strain or major trauma. Treatment for tendinopathies costs the NHS £250 million per year, often with unsatisfactory results for patients. The worldwide market for treatments is estimated at around £3.85bn.

While working in the laboratory of Professor Iain McInnes at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, Causeway co-founders Dr Derek Gilchrist and Mr Neal Millar discovered that a single microRNA-miR29a–plays a key role in regulating the production of collagens, the proteins that give tendons their strength. Replacement of Type I collagen with Type III collagen is characteristic of tendinopathy; loss of miR29a in human tendons drives an an increase in Type III collagen production. Causeway’s lead product, TenoMiR™, is a replacement for the natural miR29a that is depleted in tendinopathy.

“We’re delighted that Causeway is receiving the backing of Mediqventures and SIB,” said Dr Derek Gilchrist, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Causeway. “Translating our detailed understating of the molecular processes driving tendinopathy into a promising therapy has been a true multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists, surgeons and veterinarians in Glasgow and internationally.”

Neal Millar, co-founder and clinical senior research fellow in orthopaedics at the University of Glasgow, said: “We have applied high-level molecular interrogation to an underinvestigated yet highly prevalent and burdensome disease process. TenoMiR™ has the potential to transform the treatment of tendon injuries, getting patients back to normal quicker.”.

“This is exciting new science being pioneered at Glasgow. Our lead product is a completely novel approach to tendon disease. I am delighted to be associated again in a meaningful way with the University,” said Declan Doogan, a Partner at Mediqventures. Declan, an alumnus of the University of Glasgow and Visiting Professor at the Medical School will be joining Causeway’s board as Chairman.

Kerry Sharp, Head of Scottish Investment Bank, said “ Scottish Enterprise, through the Scottish Investment Bank, is delighted to be co-investing with Mediqventures to help the company fully commercialise its technology. We have supported Causeway Therapeutics through our High Growth Ventures Programme to help with company formation, research and now investment to help it grow to the next stage. We look forward to working alongside Causeway to help it achieve its potential, both in Scotland and internationally

In addition to developing TenoMiR™ as a human therapeutic, Causeway is developing an analogous therapy for horses suffering tendinopathy. It is estimated that tendinopathy affects 10-30% of competitive and working horses; the most common therapeutic option is a long period of box rest that only helps in 50% of cases.  In addition to being a significant welfare issue for the horse, equine tendinopathy is a substantial financial and practical burden on the owners. Initial studies of EquiMiR™ in horses have shown significantly improved tendon healing compared to untreated animals.

Professor Jon Cooper, VP Knowledge Exchange & Innovation at the University of Glasgow, said:  ‘’ We are thrilled that Causeway Therapeutics has completed its investment round and that the company is now in a position to drive forward the development of this highly innovative therapeutic approach. This is another example of the University’s ability to convert research-led innovation into economic impact for the benefit of the city of Glasgow and the Scottish economy”.

-ENDS-

Media enquiries:

Derek Gilchrist – derek.gilchrist@causewauytherapeutics.com

For more information please visit Causeway’s website-Causewaytherapeutics.com

About Mediqventures

Mediqventures is a biotech merchant bank and investment firm founded by successful entrepreneurs Jim Mellon, Gregory Bailey, and Declan Doogan in order to identify, finance, and develop promising technologies in the life sciences. Mediqventures provides equity financing either directly to portfolio companies or to single-asset collaborations with existing companies. In addition to providing capital, Mediqventures provides its portfolio companies with access to a network of seasoned drug-development professionals that join our portfolio companies in an advisory or executive role in order to provide expertise in the validation of discovery programs, preclinical development, CMC, the preparation and submission of INDs, translational science, clinical development, business development, finance, and intellectual property development.

About University of Glasgow The University of Glasgow has been inspiring people to change the world for over 550 years and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities. As a world top 100 university with annual research income of more than £181 million and overall student satisfaction rate of 91%, the University of Glasgow is committed to delivering world class research at the same time as the highest standards of teaching and education.

Contact information

Ruth Andrew
Ruth.Andrew@scotent.co.uk

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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