Scientists based in Bristol working on leading edge medical treatments have secured new funding of over £1.4 million from a number of sources.
Argonaute RNA is working on creating medicines that harness the body’s natural cell mechanisms to silence specific genes and combat illness.
Lead investor in the round is The Fink Family Office, a prominent investor in exciting UK tech businesses.
It is led by Lord Stanley Fink, former Conservative Party treasurer and former CEO of Man Group, who said: “Gene silencing can be a paradigm shift in healthcare. It offers hope to millions suffering from diseases of genetic origin. The UK needs to compete in the vanguard of this new field, which is why the government recently set up the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator to assist in addressing technological challenges and speeding up clinical developments.
The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator is based at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.
Lord Fink added: “Argonaute RNA is exactly the sort of venture we need to see academic research turned into life-saving drugs. We are excited to be involved.”
Further backing comes from Bristol Private Equity Club, a network of Bristol-based entrepreneurs, and Cardiff-based CatSci Ltd, which specialises in leveraging its skills and knowledge of process research and development to make highly targeted investments in pharmaceutical innovation.
Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club, said: “The importance of developing new medical treatments has been brought home to all with the fast tracking of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Often the only barrier slowing development of medicines is funding, so we are delighted to be supporting this Bristol-based science-led project.”
Anthony Parker, executive chairman of Argonaute RNA, said: “RNA interference is an entirely new class of medicines. It has taken 20 years to get from test tube to pharmacy, but 2021 is the breakthrough year.
“Our unique patented platform in this field has been built over the past five years but our team in aggregate has decades of RNAi drug development experience in industry. We will be using these funds to demonstrate to potential partners in the pharmaceutical sector how we can solve some of the key challenges for RNAi drug development.
“We are fortunate to benefit from the emergence of Bristol as a biotech hub and to have access to such a high quality talent pool and support of knowledgeable investors. The next 12 months promise to be tremendously exciting.”
This funding round was led by Dr. Johnathan Matlock, non-executive director of Argonaute RNA, who said: “Funding for early-stage biotech companies can be challenging, so I’m delighted to have brought together an exceptional group of investors who saw the potential for this technology.
“This funding will allow Argonaute RNA to advance our therapies towards the clinic and one step closer to patients.”