Imperial Innovations Group, a technology commercialisation and investment group, and SV Life Sciences have committed to invest 8 million pounds ($12.52 million) in new start-up company TopiVert. The start-up will focus on developing topical medicines for inflammatory diseases of the eye and gut.
Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, and SV Life Sciences have committed to invest 8 million pounds ($12.52 million) in a new start-up company TopiVert, which will focus on developing topical medicines for inflammatory diseases of the eye and gut.
TopiVert has licensed NSKI (narrow spectrum kinase inhibitor) related intellectual property from RespiVert Ltd., a former Imperial Innovations portfolio company acquired by Janssen Biotech, Inc. (formerly known as Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.) in 2010, for TopiVert’s exclusive use in discovering and developing NSKIs for inflammatory diseases of the eye and gut. Both participants in this funding round were also investors in RespiVert.
TopiVert will enter into an exclusive drug discovery collaboration with RespiVert aimed at identifying new NSKIs. TopiVert will receive exclusive rights to select and develop resulting NSKIs for the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the eye and gut, such as uveitis and inflammatory bowel disease, while RespiVert will receive exclusive rights to select and develop resulting NSKIs for the treatment of other indications, such as inflammatory diseases of the lungs.
The market size for inflammatory bowel disease in its major markets (US, Japan, and the EU) is predicted to rise from $3.5bn in 2009 to $5.6 billion by 2019 according to a recent Datamonitor report. The global uveitis market is also predicted to grow from $300m in 2010 to $1.6bn by 2017, according to Global data.
TopiVert will operate from the Imperial College Incubator, where RespiVert remains a tenant. Maina Bhaman, Director of Healthcare Investments at Innovations joins the board of TopiVert as Non-Executive Director.
TopiVert has a strong and experienced team including Chairman Allan Baxter, formerly Head of Medicines Development at GSK, and Chief Scientific Officer Steve Webber, who was Senior Director of Drug Discovery and Pre-Clinical Development at Almirall. Steve previously worked alongside Garth Rapeport, Managing Director and Chief Medical Officer of RespiVert, while both were at GSK, and was also a consultant to RespiVert. Matthew Fyfe joins the company as Head of Chemistry following roles as Director of Drug Discovery at Barcelona-based biotech Oryzon and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Oxford-based OSI Pharmaceuticals subsidiary Prosidion.
Susan Searle, Imperial Innovations Chief Executive, commented:
“TopiVert is an exciting new venture backed by a great team with a strong track record in drug discovery. RespiVert was a very successful exit, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to utilise its NSKI platform technology along with the support of SV life Sciences.”
Allan Baxter, TopiVert’s Chairman, commented:
“RespiVert has developed a novel platform technology for use in inflammatory conditions where current treatments are inadequate or poorly tolerated. The exciting prospect for TopiVert is the opportunity to build from this platform to develop topical therapies for inflammatory indications in the gastrointestinal tract and the eye.”