GSK and Ahren Announce Co-Led Series A Investment in Adrestia, and Multi-Project Discovery Collaboration with Each of the Five Projects Eligible To Receive Up To $230M (£172M) in Post Option Milestones
For media and investors only
Issued: London and Cambridge, UK
- The multi-year collaboration agreement seeks to discover novel drug targets across a number of therapeutic areas by combining Adrestia’s Disease Rebalancing Platform and GSK’s leading position in human genetics and functional genomics.
- Adrestia’s Disease Rebalancing Platform uses synthetic viability to identify phenotypic and molecular imbalances of disease as the basis of novel drug discovery.
GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) and Ahren Innovation Capital (“Ahren”) today announced they will co-lead a Series A investment in Adrestia Therapeutics (“Adrestia”), a UK-based biotechnology company using cutting edge molecular biology to develop precision medicines. In addition, GSK is entering into a multi-year agreement with Adrestia on up to five strategic, collaborative projects. Adrestia will be eligible to receive up to $230M (£172M) from each project in post-option milestone payments, plus royalties, subject to development and commercialisation progress, across multiple arising products. In addition to the Series A investment for an equity stake, GSK is also making an upfront payment for the collaborative projects. The collaboration will combine Adrestia’s world leading, synthetic viability platform with GSK’s deep scientific expertise in human genetics, functional genomics, screening, and bioinformatics.
Genetic, environmental, or other factors cause imbalances in physiological processes and pathways, leading to disease. Adrestia has developed a Disease Rebalancing Platform that uses cutting edge molecular biology to restore the biological balance in diseased or dying cells (a concept coined “synthetic viability”). Adrestia’s platform can be applied to diverse therapeutic areas, which are caused by faulty molecular pathways that lead to cellular dysfunction or death. Through this approach and bolstered by the strategic collaboration with GSK, Adrestia will use precision genetic models to search for therapeutic targets, precision diagnostics, novel drug compounds and new applications for existing drugs.
Professor Steve Jackson, CEO of Adrestia Therapeutics said: “I am delighted to close this investment with GSK and Ahren. Adrestia’s vision is to use knowledge of human disease genetics to develop innovative new medicines for rare and common diseases. It will be wonderful to work with GSK, whose deep expertise in drug discovery will accelerate Adrestia’s programmes and ability to develop medicines that have real positive impacts for patients. Ahren has made this a possibility with its ongoing exceptional support since we founded Adrestia together.”
Tony Wood, Senior Vice President, Medicinal Science and Technology of GSK said: “Adrestia has shown that synthetic viability can rescue diseased or dying cells, and is a natural extension of our work with synthetic lethality to find novel medicines. This collaboration combines the talent and passion of both companies to put the UK at the cutting-edge of this approach to drug discovery.”
Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Managing Partner of Ahren said: “Adrestia’s technology has the potential to improve the lives of many patients through identifying the next generation of precision medicines. Steve is a world leading proven commercial scientist, and over the last two years the team has demonstrated the power of Adrestia’s platform. GSK is a strong partner for the next stage of Adrestia’s journey and we look forward to working together to achieve the Company’s full potential.”
About Adrestia Therapeutics Ltd.
Adrestia Therapeutics identifies and exploits drug targets through applying the concept of synthetic viability. Adrestia scientists have developed an innovative, scalable platform to systemically identify molecular imbalances of disease, and thereby identify means to rebalance the underlying disease states. They will thus develop novel precision medicines that work in an entirely new way: restoring biological balance in damaged, diseased, or dying cells.
Adrestia Therapeutics was founded in the UK in 2018, by Professor Steve Jackson together with Ahren, a $250M deep science and deep technology investment fund. Adrestia is the latest venture of Ahren’s Science Partner, Professor Steve Jackson. Professor Jackson is a leading academic in the field of DNA repair, a serial entrepreneur, and the co-originator of the first synthetic lethality drug Olaparib/Lynparza (used to treat over 30,000 patients worldwide to date). Lynparza was the first cancer drug approved for treating cancers caused by inherited predisposition (BRCA1/2 mutations). It is now approved for breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers. For further information, please visit: www.Adrestia.com
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com/about-us.
About Ahren Innovation Capital
Ahren Innovation Capital is an investment institution that supports transformational companies at the intersection of deep tech and deep science that will penetrate, or create, massive markets. Ahren is a unique partnership of investment talent and best-in-class commercial scientists whose technologies are today valued in excess of $100BN combined.
Ahren believes in taking asymmetric, considered, risk that will deliver superior rewards – capturing a generational opportunity to provide smart capital to deep technology.
With a philosophy espousing the importance of relationships and trust, Ahren provides both patient and active capital to exceptional founders and teams, empowering them to succeed.
Ahren’s Founding and Science Partners include:
Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Founder & CEO, formerly an investor at TPG Capital and Lansdowne Partners, Double First Class degree in Mathematics and Master’s in Maths & Physics from the University of Cambridge; Fulbright and Baker Scholar at Harvard Business School.
Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, principal inventor of the leading next generation human genome sequencing technology core to all Illumina sequencing platforms, estimated worth >$30BN.
Professor Roberto Cipolla, Professor of Information Engineering at Cambridge University, Director of Toshiba Research Europe.
Professor John Daugman, Head of Artificial Intelligence Group of Cambridge University, inventor of IRIS (eye) recognition technology used to register 1.5BN citizens worldwide.
Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, world leader in machine learning, co-founder of Geometric Intelligence (sold to Uber for an undisclosed amount), former Uber Chief Scientist & VP for AI, now Distinguished Scientist and Sr Research Director at Google Brain.
Professor Steve Jackson, Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, founder/co-founder of three companies and originator of Olaparib/Lynparza, now partnered by AstraZeneca with Merck.
Professor Andy Parker, CERN leader, Head of the Cavendish Laboratory (Physics Department) of Cambridge University.
Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, Nobel prize laureate and President of the Royal Society, the UK’s premier science body.
Lord Martin Rees, world-renowned astrophysicist, Astronomer Royal, founder of CSER, former President of the Royal Society and former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Sir Gregory Winter, 2018 Nobel laureate, inventor of technology leading to Humira ($19BN sales in 2019, the world’s greatest grossing drug) and founder of three companies. Former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D "Risk Factors" in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2019 and as set out in GSK’s “Principal risks and uncertainties” section of the Q3 Results and any impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.