New investment for sight-saving drug University spin out

A company which develops sight-saving drugs, spun out from research at the University of Aberdeen, has secured £1.2m in investment to develop its technology.

Elasmogen has developed soloMERsTM - humanised versions of antibody-like proteins that were first discovered in sharks. They are chemically robust molecules that tolerate drug conjugation well. 

It is believed that soloMERsTM bind specifically to the cancer tissue and will penetrate inside the tumour before releasing their ‘war-head’ of anti-cancer drugs, maximising the damage to the tumour and minimising the toxic effects to healthy tissues.

Elasmogen hasnow received a Biomedical Catalyst Grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK and matching investment from Deepbridge Capital and Scottish Investment Bank (the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise).

“We have recently completed our proof of concept trials demonstrating the ability to deliver therapeutic concentrations of soloMERs to the back of the eye by topical delivery,” said Elasmogen CEO and University of Aberdeen Honorary Research Fellow, Caroline Barelle. “Winning the Biomedical Catalyst grant along with the new investment will allow us to build on these results and prepare our anti-inflammatory and anti-autoimmune soloMERs for phase 1 clinical trials.”

“Use of corticosteroids for treatment of ocular inflammation carries the risk of significant side effects including glaucoma and cataracts,” said John Forrester Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, The Lions Eye Institute, Australia and University of Aberdeen, Scotland. “A fast acting, topically applied biologic that can reach all parts of the eye would provide significant benefit to uveitis and other ocular disease patients.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank said, “We are pleased to be able to support Elasmogen, initially through our High-Growth Spinout Programme which helps researchers to take their ideas and inventions from the lab to the global marketplace, and now through matched investment from the Scottish Venture Fund. The company has made significant technical progress in a short space of time and its sight-saving auto-immune therapies have the potential to make a notable social, as well as commercial, impact.  We look forward to working with Deepbridge Capital to further support and nurture the exciting opportunity presented by Elasmogen.”